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The new “Pulkovo” airport terminal is being tested by volunteers


The new terminal of the “Pulkovo” airport, which will open its doors in December, is, in fact, already operational. Tickets are being handed out, luggage is scanned, check-in counters are busy. There are no flights yet though – the terminal is only being tested. Employees are getting to grips with technical novelties; volunteers are there to see whether the new terminal will be comfortable. “The Pulkovo games” in Elena Boldysheva’s report.


It’s been two weeks that volunteers and the “Pulkovo” staff have been playing the airport role game. Every day, more than 200 volunteers are pretending to be passengers, while the employees are playing their actual roles. 

The airport’s personnel are taking this training time to learn the new equipment and prepare themselves for new work conditions.

Anna Lebedeva, security inspector at “Pulkovo”: “I think it will be better. We will now have 3-D scanners”.

The training is about a detailed reconstruction of the airport’s every-day work. Before the “game” starts, “passengers” are given their tickets.  

Then volunteers go to get their luggage. All suitcases are different. Some of those have been filled with items forbidden from carrying inside an aircraft. 

Finding these items is a piece of cake for modern equipment. Organizers say this provocation is needed to work out an algorithm of work with disobedient passengers. 

Moving on along the usual pre-flight routine. The check-in counters. There are 88 of those here. 

The passport control zone is a pleasant surprise. It has 110 booths. Unfortunately, now they’re empty. So we move on directly to the gates area. In the new terminal, this path lies directly through the duty free shop. Construction works in this place – so fondly loved by Russian travellers – are almost finished. Now we move on to the boarding bridges – there are 14 here. Airport staff say around 80% of passengers will board planes directly from the terminal. 

Alexaner Larish, head of department on preparing the move to the new “Pulkovo” terminal: “The peculiarity of the new terminal is that terminals Pulkovo-1 and Pulkovo-2 will be merged into one – all flights will be made from the new terminal. So transfer passengers won’t have to traverse from one building to another, all flights will be made from this building.

Another pleasant surprise is the baggage claim zone – there are 7 belts here. The system is almost completely computerized. 

Alexey Gromov, head engineer of the luggage service system: “A man’s participation here is minimal. Only if, for example, luggage falls off the belt, or it is jammed – we step in to clear it. We have a place here called the manual coding station. That’s for unreadable luggage tags in the system”.

After the new terminal opens its doors in December, renovation works will start at “Pulkovo-1” terminal, which would last until July next year. The old building will be re-equipped with new gear, which corresponds with the modern demands in air security. The two buildings will be connected by a corridor.

So, the new terminal prepares for takeoff. And there’s a lot to be prepared for. 

It will transport 17 million passengers a year – that’s 1.5 times more than now. “Pulkovo-3” is 150 thousand square meters, equipped with state-of-the-art gear. 

More than a billion euro will be invested into the new airport until the end of next year. There’s a lot of space next to the terminal, so there will be a hotel with 200 rooms, a business center, a very own power station – which will provide heating, water and electricity supplies for the airport’s facilities – two emergency stations, multi-floored parking lot for 560 cars and an open parking lot for 1200 cars. 

5200 volunteers have been allocated to test the new terminal’s novelties. They will help to rehearse the work of all new airport’s services, as well as practicing actions during emergencies. They have two months for that – the “games” will be over by November the 21st.Only 50 days remain until the opening.