Interview: Petru Jardan outlines how investment is leading to traffic growth at Chisinau

As Chisinau undergoes a significant period of restructure we speak to the man behind the investment.

Petru JardanPetru Jardan is the chairman of Avia Invest, which became the concessionaire of Chisinau International Airport in November 2013. Since then more than €50m has been invested in modernising  facilities throughout the airport. Routesonline spoke to Jardan to learn how this capital is creating more routes.

Q: What has been achieved since 2013?

The Strategic Development Plan for Chisinau Airport developed by Avia Invest involves several investment stages. First-stage investments have already exceeded €50 million.

Development work at the airport is still ongoing, but passengers are already feeling the benefits.

The terminal has been improved to ensure all aspects are at least C category in IATA’s requirements. The old spaces have been completely renovated and a new concept of airport created, which substantially reduced passengers' inconveniences.

Queues at check-in counters and security checkpoints no longer exist; we’ve doubled the counters and now the terminal has a flow capacity of 750 passengers per hour, compared to 420 in 2013.

The modernisation and development of the airport’s infrastructure, as well as the implementation of more attractive packages for airports, have been decisive factors in attracting new air operators, which contributed to increase number of flights and destinations.

See all airport improvements

  • Constuction of a parking lot with 800 places
  • A segment of 1km of the runway has been rebuilt from scratch and now is operable, and the runway light system has been upgraded
  • A new runway is being built and the existing one rehabilitated, increasing their carrying capacity
  • A new drainage, evacuation and purification system has been built
  • The power supply system has been modernised, replacing obsolete equipment from distribution stations and building a new main distribution point, and more than 29km of cables have been replaced
  • The arrival and departure halls, the custom control area, the departure / arrival baggage handling room, the handling companies' rooms have been brought into operation, expanded and upgraded
  • The number of passenger security checkpoints have been increased to four and new security equipment installed in the departure zone
  • The number of check-in counters on departure has been increased to 12 units, and we’ve installed new technology
  • The public hall has been expanded with the number of counters increased to 18. Plus we’ve added new technological equipment; a new luggage processing line and modern security equipment

Q: How has the modernisation directly increased the the number of flights to and from Moldova?

In the last three years the flow of passengers at Chisinau International Airport has almost doubled.

With the modernisation of the airport infrastructure, Chisinau Airport is becoming more attractive for airlines. As a result, Wizz Air, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe opened its base in Chisinau in spring 2017.

In this context, new twice-weekly services from Chisinau to Berlin Schönefeld and Barcelona will be launched, and the number of flights to Bologna and Venice will increase.

As a result of the reconstruction of the whole runway, the operational capacity of the airport will be increased so that Chisinau Airport can unrestrictedly receive and serve all types of aircraft, including large capacity aircraft, and will provide a traffic of 21 planes per hour.

Q: How do you continue to promote Chisinau to airlines?

Throughout 2016, Avia Invest continued to actively promote the potential not only of the airport but also of the whole country by participating at the most important international aviation conference - Routes Europe.

The concessionaire continues to turn the airport into a competitive and modern facility which meets the most demanding European standards. Regarding this, at the request of Avia Invest, a series of meetings with European experts took place, from which we took practices used by European airports.

Q: How was 2016 generally for the airport?

The year 2016 was full of challenges for Chisinau Airport, but also enormous achievements in modernising and expanding airport infrastructure.

We knew investment was required to increase passenger comfort, and now better conditions have been created. We have streamlined passenger flow in the terminal by extending and completely renovating the passenger registration area and putting into operation a previously-built segment of the arrival hall.

Crossing the border has become quicker and more convenient. We have eliminated crowds by increasing the number of passenger registration, passport control points and number of entries arrivals.

At the same time, in order to create a pleasant environment for the passengers, we opted for the implementation of two absolutely innovative ideas for the Republic of Moldova: the vertical garden of the departure area and the video wall at the arrivals area.

A segment of the 1km long track was rebuilt and now is operable, and this was possible without suspending or restricting air traffic, and the runway light system was also upgraded on this section.

Q: Which of your achievements are you most proud of?

Personally, I am very proud of the evolution which occured at Chisinau Airport.

Our success was confirmed by the latest poll from 2016, which demonstrates that more than 80 percent of the passengers are very pleased with the changes at Chisinau International Airport. This means that every second passenger leaves the airport with a great experience, an increase of 15 percent from the polls from 2015.

Another confirmation of the efforts made is the designation of Chisinau International Airport as "the most dynamic development airport within CIS countries" by Association Airport with passenger traffic of up to five million per year.

This is the first time in the airport's history it has been recognised in this category, which shows the intense pace of development accompanied by a continuous increase in passenger traffic.

We are also proud of the multi-level car park of the airport, which was acknowledged as the best building of the year by the annual competition of the Union of Architects from Moldova.

Q: What safety standards were implemented to make Chisinau Airport more secure?

With the growth in global insecurity, it was very important for Avia Invest that we prioritise passenger safety. New security equipment with superior performance has been purchesed, significantly increasing the level of aviation security. It is important to mention that Chisinau International Airport is the first in the CIS space that implements control and security systems with such high performance capabilities.

Q: What message do you have for those who use Chisinau International Airport’s services?

First at all, we constantly adapt to the requirements of our passengers, airlines and partners. We are always receptive to their requests by implementing the most effective solutions to offer a modern and safe airport. Avia Invest is constantly striving for every traveler to spend quality time in a European-level airport and airlines to operate in optimal conditions.

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