<img class="imgl" alt="" src="http://www.belarus-magazine.by/belen/data/upimages/2009/0001-009-401.jpg">[b]Minsk National Airport updated to top class[/b]<br />Belarus is known internationally for its hospitality so it’s fitting that the National Airport should offer true comfort to all passing through. Journalists recently toured the new arrival lounge and further work continues at the terminal.
Belarus is known internationally for its hospitality so it’s fitting that the National Airport should offer true comfort to all passing through. Journalists recently toured the new arrival lounge and further work continues at the terminal.
‘Horseshoe’ for luck
In the shape of a ‘horseshoe’, construction of Minsk’s international airport began in the 1970s, aiming to cater for the 1980 Moscow Games: qualifying matches and quarterfinals were held in Minsk. Sadly, the terminal was not completed in time, although the runway was operational. Minsk-2 operated with a temporary semi-circular hangar: originally planned as a sports centre for Sokol. Over time, the terminal received attention and is now being majorly updated, in readiness for the Ice Hockey World Championship.
“Our task is to allow arriving passengers to see a modern airport meeting the most advanced standards,” emphasises Director for Aviation Vladimir Kostin, from the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Belarus. “A major focus is our expansion of the interior of the terminal: by 9000 square metres.”
Zone of high comfort
Reconstruction of the National Airport is going at full speed, bringing a huge scale of transformation while allowing the airport to remain operational. The facade has been replaced, allowing light to flood in, even on the cloudiest of days. A new roof is in place, and the latest information, communication and fire alarm systems are being installed. Visitors can choose from several newspaper and souvenir stalls, and, as well as automatic beverage vending machines, there’s a circular food court. Comfort is a priority, so new air-conditioning systems are being fitted, and shops are scattered throughout the terminal — including in the departure and arrival zones.
In February, the new international arrival opened, supplementing a VIP hall for officials and delegations, which opened three months earlier — able to cater to 117 people. The departure and arrival areas have been revamped to allow friends and relatives to greet and ‘send off’ their loved ones in comfort.
The airport also now boasts a 45 counter check-in zone (up from 26 counters) and can seat a thousand passengers. There are new escalators and lifts, including panoramic. Needless to say, the baggage system has also been modernised, purchased from the Netherlands.
A new electronic system of registration of passengers is being introduced, including single border and customs check-points and a ‘fast photo’ service for Belarusian visas. Payment-processing centres, cash dispensers and currency exchange offices will work around the clock, for the convenience of passengers.
The new airport, as the main gateway to the country for international visitors, is sure to make a positive impression during the Ice Hockey World Championship — and beyond.
By Maxim Osipov