On 13 June, delegates from Russian candidate cities and experts from FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee (LOC) gathered in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv as part of the Observer Programme, which aims to provide valuable knowledge to help prepare for major international sporting events.
The delegates from the candidate cities took the opportunity to gain first-hand insight into the ways airports have been prepared to cope with increased passenger numbers, looking specifically at Kharkiv’s example as a UEFA EURO 2012 host city.
Participants in the Observer Programme managed to gain a better understanding of how to temporarily increase the amount of passengers an airport can handle by several times (in comparison to its usual operating capacity). For the duration of EURO 2012, a temporary terminal at Kharkiv International Airport is permitting up to an extra 200 departures and landings each day, which far exceeds any figures from previous years. This was put to the test on June 13, when the airport processed 25,000 passengers in the space of 24 hours for the match between Germany and the Netherlands, held at Metalist’s Kharkiv Stadium.
As part of preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Russia is developing its own airport modernisation programme, and the opportunity to learn from Ukraine’s experience has proved to be particularly beneficial, given the historical similarities of the two countries’ transport infrastructure. Indeed, the existing terminals of most regional airports under consideration for the 2018 FIFA World Cup have been earmarked for modernisation. In certain cases, temporary terminals are set to be constructed in order to increase airport capacity, in accordance with FIFA’s requirements. After the FIFA World Cup, these terminals will be converted to best serve the airports in other ways.