DCH Group president Oleksandr Yaroslavsky gave Dnipro journalists a tour of Kharkiv International Airport on 4 November and offered a glimpse of what they can expect in their own city if he proceeds with plans to reconstruct Dnipro International Airport.
The Kharkiv-based Ukrainian businessman has repeatedly confirmed his willingness to build a new terminal complex in Dnipro but will only begin work once the state has allocated sufficient funding to finance the necessary reconstruction of the airport’s runway facilities. “I have USD 70 million ready to invest and am ready to begin on schedule,” he underlined.
Yaroslavsky refused to speculate on the politics of the state funding issue. “This is not my area of responsibility,” he commented. “The answer at present is that the money is not there. There is talk of support and understanding, but we need neither. We need UAH 3 billion to pay for the runway. We have been discussing this for almost a year. If building work had been underway all this time, then we would be getting close to completion by now.”
He was damning in his verdict on the current condition of the airport in Dnipro. “I think this is the last season when the runway will be in service at all in its current condition. It is already difficult to call it a runway. My pilots refuse to land there because it is not safe.”
Yaroslavsky contrasted this with Kharkiv International Airport, which he renovated completely ahead of Euro 2012 at a cost of around USD 107 million. “Kharkiv airport is designed to accommodate three million passengers per year. Dnipro needs to have the same capacity.”
DCH Group plans to construct a new terminal building in Dnipro and reconstruct the existing terminal building. Yaroslavsky estimates that the entire construction project will take two-and-a-half years to complete. “The state will be responsible for its part of the plan,” he stressed. “I do not have a company that can build runways and I do not trust others with my money.”
He anticipated rapid progress once an upgraded Dnipro International Airport was operational. According to Yaroslavsky, DCH Group could use its existing industry contacts to attract new airlines to what would be one of Ukraine’s most attractive regional air hubs with a catchment area population of over ten million Ukrainians.
The businessman appealed to the Dnipro region public to get behind the project. “I am ready to wait. I have other economic interests in the region. We will wait and travel by horse and cart in the meantime,” he quipped. “However, we are not the only people with an interest in this project. The entire Dnipropetrovsk region needs to support this initiative. Imagine where Kharkiv would be today without the city’s international airport. A new airport can also help to transform Dnipro.”