Pulkovo Airport (Russian: Аэропорт Пулково, Aeroport Pulkovo) (IATA: LED, ICAO: ULLI) is an international airport serving Saint Petersburg, Russia. It consists of one terminal, Terminal 1 which is located 23 km (14 mi) south of the city centre. The airport serves as a hub for Rossiya Airlines (formerly Pulkovo Aviation Enterprise), and as focus city for Nordavia. Pulkovo International Airport is responsible for serving the citizens of Saint Petersburg, as well as the Leningrad Oblast: a total of 6,120,000 people.
Pulkovo Airport was officially opened on June 24, 1932, as a state-owned domestic airport. In 2013, 12,854,366 passengers (a +15.6% increase from that of 2012) traveled through Pulkovo airport, making it the 3rd busiest airport in Russia and Post-Soviet states. Pulkovo had a passenger traffic rate of 9,874,941 (+12.6%) as of September 1, 2014. The airport holds the title of being one of the largest airports in Russia and Eastern Europe.
In January 1931, construction of an aerodrome near Leningrad (Saint Petersburg's official name between 1924 and 1991 and he source of the airfield's IATA code of "LED" ) commenced and was completed on June 24, 1932, with the first aircraft arriving at 17:31 that day, after a two-and-a-half hour flight from Moscow carrying passengers and mail. This aerodrome was at first named Shosseynaya Airport, the name coming from the nearby Shosseynaya railway station. Soon after the airport opened regular flights to Petrozavodsk, Pudozh, Arkhangelsk, and Murmansk.
In 1936, a foundation for a new terminal was laid out. Leningrad′s airport was also provided with new G-2s and PS-84s. In 1941, a new completely commercial passenger route between Moscow and Leningrad was opened; before it was a mixed passenger-mail route. Construction of the new terminal thrived between 1937 and 1941. The architects of the new three-story terminal were Aleksandr Ivanovich Gegello and N.E. Lansere. Construction was abruptly put on hold in July 1941, one month after Nazi Germany′s invasion of the USSR on June 22, 1941. The airport was the front line in the German Siege of Leningrad. There were no flights between 1941 and 1944. The nearby Pulkovo hills were occupied by the Germans and were used by German long-range artillery for daily bombardments of Leningrad. The airport was cleared of the Germans in January 1944, and resumed cargo and mail flights after the runways were repaired in 1945. In February 1948, after the damage was completely repaired, the airport resumed scheduled passenger flights. In 1949, there were scheduled flights to 15 major cities of the USSR, and 15 more short-range flights within the north-western Russia. In 1949 Shosseynaya Airport recorded a passenger traffic rate of 6,305, 333 tons of mail, and 708 tons of cargo.
In 1951, the construction of the new terminal was complete. In the mid-1950s the new extended runway was completed, allowing to handle larger aircraft such as Ilyushin-18 and Tupolev-104. in that same time period the exploitation of jet engine planes began in Shosseynaya Airport. On March 15, 1959, the USSR-42419 Tu-104 was the first commercial jet airplane to take off from the Shosseynaya Airport.
In the early 1960s long-distance airplanes such as the An-24 and Yak-40 began to appear in the airport. Flights to Vladivostok began to emerge in the flight lists. ICAO category 1 standards were implemented in 1965, making way for international operations. By the late 1960s, over 60 airlines had flights to and from Saint Petersburg's airport. On February 8, 1971, Shosseynaya was awarded the Order of the October Revolution. The airport was renamed Pulkovo Airport on April 24, 1973. In May 1973, the new Pulkovo 1 terminal was opened. The famous 5-cup Pulkovo 1 was designed by Alexandr Zyk. The 5 cups on top were put intentionally to give the terminal a more spacious feeling, as well as to allow more natural sunlight to pass through. This terminal is regarded as a masterpiece of Soviet postmodern architecture. Pulkovo 1 was a domestic-only terminal. Domestic air traffic increased approximately 45% every decade between the 1970-1990s. The old pre-war building of the airport was renamed to Pulkovo 2 and the terminal was exploited for international flights only.
On April 11, 1986, the new departure and arrival zones for the international terminal were completed, doubling the passenger traffic rate capacity of Pulkovo 1.
In 1990 Pulkovo Airport reach its passenger traffic rate peak of over 10,000,000 passengers. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union the number of passengers declined. In 2005 Pulkovo Airport gained independence as it separated from the Pulkovo Aviation Enterprise. Also in 2005 Rosavia declares that Pulkovo Airport (still state-owned) is to have an open tender on an investment project of the new terminal construction.This allowed it to sell shares and begin working on investment bidding projects. In 2006 Pulkovo Airport served just over 5,000,000 passengers: only 50% of the number from 1990.
In 2007, the winner was announced. Grimshaw Architects wins the tender. In 2009 The Saint Petersburg Transportation Ministry requests that an operating company for Pulkovo Airport be created.
NCG (Northern Capital Gateway),a consortium, is set up by Russian VTB Capital Bank, international Fraport AG Company and Greek Copelouzos Group. On April 29, 2010. NCG wins the tender for a 30-year operating lease over Pulkovo Airport. On November 24, 2010, Vladimir Putin (being the PM of Russia at that time) attends the construction ceremony and on that same day construction of the new 150,000 m² Terminal 1.
Pulkovo 2 is approximately 25,000 m2 (270,000 sq ft). The terminal used to serve as the international departures and arrivals zone. It was last renovated in 2009. Today, Pulkovo 2 is used as a second-hand terminal for government officials and VIP members.
This terminal is 43,000 m2 (460,000 sq ft). It served as the main terminal for over 30 years. Pulkovo 1 was built for 6,500,000 passengers annually, but by 2008 it surpassed its maximum capacity. Today Pulkovo 1 is under a major reconstruction. This terminal is planned to be used as the domestic transit/departure zone. The zone is planned to have several duty-free shops, restaurants, and 6 jet bridges. When Pulkovo 1 is completed, Pulkovo Airport's capacity will increase to 17,000,000 passengers annually. Reconstruction of Pulkovo 1 was finished at the end of 2014.
Construction of Terminal 1 was delayed several times and began in 2010. In November 2013, the airport was tested for errors by over 5,200 residents of Saint Petersburg who partook in the process. Several days after the testings The new Terminal 1 opened on December 3, 2013. On February 14, 2014, all operations were consolidated into the new terminal as the old Pulkovo 1 and Pulkovo 2 terminals have been shut down. The new terminal contains several business lounges, restaurants (including chains such as Starbucks, Burger King, and McDonald's), pharmacies, and an Irish pub. Terminal 1 is 147,000 m SQ and has 400,000 m² airport dock in front of it. The airport has 88 check-in counters, 110 passport booths, 7 baggage carousels, 110 parking stands, 17 gates, and 17 escalators. The interior of the new airport was designed by Grimshaw Architects and directly correlates with the designs and style of Saint Petersburg city. The new Terminal also sought many artistic sculptures and paintings to give a sense of thriving culture to passengers. Four sculptures from Dmitry Shorin's project named I Believe in Angels decorate the departure hall."Marshrutka" minibuses № K-39 run on several lines, some of them following the city bus routes (and using matching line numbers).
Pulkovo Airport is served by the shuttle buses(№39 and №39A).They are connecting the airport with metro station "Moskovskaya" on line M2.
Train station "Аirport" (Russian "Аэропорт") is 15 minutes walk from terminal 1.
For private car travel, Pulkovo Airport is accessible via the nearby Pulkovo Highway (Pulkovskoe shosse) from St. Petersburg city center.April 27, 1974, an Ilyushin Il-18V passenger aircraft of Aeroflot flying to Krasnodar crashed right after take off from Pulkovo after engine fire. All 108 passengers and 10 members of crew died.
June 26, 1991, an Antonov An-24 cargo aircraft of the AKF Polet company heading to Voronezh crashed in the Gulf of Finland five minutes after take off from Pulkovo. All ten people on board died.
For a more comprehensive list, see Aviation Safety Network Entry for LED.