Source: President of the Republic of Belarus
3 May 2019
The second runway has been inaugurated at Minsk National Airport. The ceremony was attended by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 3 May.The ribbon was cut by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, Transport and Communications Minister Aleksei Avramenko, and Director General of Minsk National Airport Dmitry Melikyan. The event was attended by employees of the airport, Belavia airline, Belaeronavigatsia enterprise and organizations that participated in the construction of the new runway.Aleksandr Lukashenko called the opening of the second runway an extraordinary event. “Many experts persuaded me that we were not up to the task, that we had never built runways and that we needed to invite a world-class company. We almost reached an agreement with one of them. But when they brought me a document for singing, it spelled out the amount worth of $600 million. Thus the project was tabled then,” the President said recalling the events.
According to the head of state, the new runway was still needed because the airport is the face of the country. It was agreed, however, that the project would be carried out by Belarusian specialists.
The runway was tested in late April as the air force one took off it heading to China and landed on it too upon return to Minsk. “My pilot told me that he saw such a runway only in the Arab Emirates. This means we are capable of implementing such projects. The project cost us not $600 million, but three times cheaper. This is our great achievement,” the President said.The head of state recalled the 1990s when there was an endemic privatization. Many foreign investors wanted to buy all the airports in the country. “I decided against the privatization of the airports, including this one. The main gate to the country should remain in the hands of the state,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.According to the President, if Minsk National Airport had been privatized then, it would not be developing at such a pace today.Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed gratitude to builders for the construction of the second runway and told them to be ready for new projects.The President added that with the opening of the new runway the airport will not stop growing better. “We need to continue modernization efforts and make it more comfortable for people. We need to get this compound into shape, make it appealing. It seems nice but lacks appeal, as airports in other states have,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.In honor of the opening of the second runway the airport employees gave the head of state a mock-up Boeing 767 300ER – air force one.The President talked to the workers and thanked them for their contribution to the construction of the new runway. Aleksandr Lukashenko was also interested in their working conditions and salaries. The Belarusian leader noted that with the increase in passenger traffic, the salaries of airport employees will also rise. “Stability, however, is what matters most. If there is instability, no one will come here. We should remember this,” the head of state said.“Thank you for what you did. It seemed impossible from the point of view of our government. Well done!” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.The second runway at Minsk National Airport is a set of engineering structures, including the concrete strip, which is 3.7km long and 60m wide, the runway and taxiways, a cargo apron, parking space for aircraft, checkpoints and other infrastructure facilities. The estimated cost of the project exceeded Br395 million. The construction of the second runway took three years and involved nearly 900 specialists and 300 construction vehicles. The new runway has been rated as 4F, which enables the airport to handle aircraft of all types without restrictions in severe weather conditions.