Domodedovo International Airport Improves Security Whilst Increasing Traffic

MOSCOW, August 15/PRNewswire/ — Security has been dramatically improved at Moscow Domodedovo International Airport in the course of the year that passed since explosions onboard the two Tupolev aircraft on Aug. 24 2004, with the airport increasing passenger and cargo traffic.

On Aug. 24 2004, the Tupolev-134 operated by Russian regional airline Volga-Avia Express and the Tupolev-154 flown by one of the country’s most rapidly expanding air carriers, Siberia Airlines, took off from Domodedovo Airport. Soon after the departure, both flights exploded within minutes of each other. Onboard bombs, triggered by suicide bombers, were to blame.

“Domodedovo has always been a very secure airport with one of the most reliable security systems in Russia. But those bombings underlined the need to rise the level of aviation security that had already been in place at the airport,” Dmitri Kamenshchik, Chairman of the Board of Directors, EAST LINE Group, says.

Immediately after the incident, the airport’s management team carried out a thorough review of security and decided on a wide range of measures to tighten security further including purchase of new equipment, introduction of new training programs, revision of existing procedures and changes in positioning of the personnel involved. Among those changes were significant new hires at a management level and recruitment of front-line security staff to cope with the extra security measures.

At the same time, the Domodedovo team sought advice from the world’s best aviation security experts at ACI, IATA and ICAO. They developed relationships and obtained guidance from the USA and Israel with regards to improvements that could be made to the aviation security infrastructure. The airport’s security staff embarked on a series of international training programs that further enhanced links with the international security community.

Domodedovo would not be able to operate its level of security without the sophisticated equipment that it has in place.

Continuous video surveillance and audio recording inside the airport building and around the site, combined with integrated security Apollo systems installed throughout Domodedovo Airport, ensure access control.

The screening equipment used at the passenger terminal includes standard X-ray screening systems by Rapiscan and Smiths Heimann (which are also used to screen cargo and mail) and explosives detection systems such as Itemiser3, IONSCAN 400B and Shelf-DS. In addition to this, Domodedovo uses two full body X-ray scanners, a GE Entry Scan3 explosives/narcotics detection system and a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) material identifier.

The airport administration has installed advanced anti-explosion hoods and containers at the airport to minimize the threat posed by unattended luggage or suspicious objects.

Сontrol checks of passengers, based on facial recognition, are run at Domodedovo. The purpose of these is to identify potential criminals or those sought by law enforcement agencies. Continuous video monitoring and recording allows records to be kept of all passengers entering the airport premises. If it is necessary, sniffer dogs can then be used, almost instantly, in selective searches as the airport has its own canine training centre where sniffer dogs are trained to search for drugs and explosives.

The airport operator, EAST LINE Group, plans to further strengthen security at Domodedovo by investing approximately $20 million on new security equipment.

“Air safety and security have been the main priorities for EAST LINE Group, and Domodedovo will never stop developing its security system. Moscow Domodedovo International Airport has historically been one of the safest airports in the world, and with permanent upgrades to its security operations our Group will ensure it remains so,” Mr. Kamenshchik said.

Despite the tragic incident of 2004, airlines and passengers were not deterred from using Domodedovo. Russian passenger traffic to Domodedovo has drastically increased since August 2004.

A further vote of confidence in Domodedovo came when Israel’s flagship carrier, El Al Israel Airlines, started operating flights to Domodedovo on October 31, 2004, highlighting the fact that the airport’s security service constantly meets the highest international standards.

Domodedovo International Airport is today the largest and the most promising airport in Russia. It maintains the first place ranking in terms of domestic and international air cargo transport. The outstanding results were reached due to the proactive investment policy of EAST LINE Group that enabled the airport to be upgraded with the latest in airport services technology.

January-June 2005 results indicate that Domodedovo maintains the leading position in terms of passenger traffic in the Moscow aviation hub. The airport’s overall turnover in the first six months of 2005 reached 5.9 million passengers, an 11.4% increase over the same period of 2004.

The highest growth in passenger numbers was recorded on routes to popular vacation destinations in Turkey, Egypt and Israel.

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