Moscow Airport…

Sheremetyevo International Airport (Moscow Airport), is an International Airport which serves Moscow, Russia. It is a hub for the passenger operations of the Russian international airline Aeroflot.. Moscow has several airports, of which the two most used are Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo International Airport, (with  Vnukovo a distant third). The IATA area code for Sheremetievo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo is MOW.

Today,Moscow airport processes almost 12 million passengers annually (it recorded 12,174,000 passengers in 2005). This represents almost a quarter of all air passengers, and over 60% of the passengers on international airline flights. [Figures according to the official airport website]. It can take anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours from Moscow city center to get to the airport. The main road leading to the airport –Leningradskoe Highway – can get clogged during the rush hour, often resulting in passengers missing their flights. Taxi fares tend to vary; the better your Russian, the lower the costs of getting to the airport. Slow buses and faster minivans (fixed price shared taxis) connect Sheremetyevo with Moscow’s extensive metro network.

The airport lies in Moscow Oblast. The Moscow city, a separate federal entity with an infinitely larger budget, has been trying to gain control of it for years. So far this hasn’t happened and the city is unwilling to single-handedly finance a rapid transit system to link Moscow and the airport; Moscow Oblast is too poor to share the costs. Eventually, Sheremetyevo is due to be linked to Moscow’s Savyolovsky Rail Terminal by a rapid train system by the end of 2007 when Sheremetyevo’s train station is completed. As a first stage of the project, in 2004 express train connection from the Savyolovsky Terminal to Lobnya station, which is about 2/3 of the way to Sheremetyevo, followed by a bus, has been opened. Sheremetyevo airport was called Europe’s worst airport by The Russian Journal.. The airport’s infamous problems used to include long queues, delays at immigration, parking problems, dim lighting, poor seating, poor service and extremely inadequate transport links to the city. An ongoing renovation of Sheremetyevo-2 somehow alleviated some of these problems.

Connecting internationally to flights bound for Russian or CIS cities from Sheremetyevo can be a hassle. The only visa-free transfer between the international and domestic terminals is a shuttle bus run by Aeroflot, which is unreliable and unpredictable. All other exits from the airport require a Russian visa, even if one holds a visa for another CIS country. Those making international connections between terminals one and two should obtain a transit visa in advance if at all possible. Thankfully most of the CIS flights have been over the years moved to Sheremetyevo-2.