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

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

Petru Jardan

Petru Jardan is the general director of Avia Invest LLC, which became the concessionaire of Chisinau International Airport in November 2013. Since then more than €50m has been invested in modernising the airport’s infrastructure. Routesonline spoke to Jardan to learn how this capital is contributing to passenger growth.

Q: What has been achieved since 2013?

Since the concession, Chisinau International Airport has undergone a significant process of upgrading. Development work at the airport is still ongoing, but passengers are already feeling the benefits.

The terminal was extended, the old premises were completely refurbished and a new terminal concept was introduced. Consequently the inconveniencies for passengers were substantially reduced.

The problems we had with queues at the airport were completely solved because the number of the check-in desks and security checkpoints was increased. The actual passenger flow rate per direction amounts to 750 passengers per hour, compared to 2013 when the airport capacity was estimated at 420 passengers per hour.

The modernisation and development of the whole airport’s infrastructure, as well as the implementation of an incentive programme for airlines, were the main factors behind attracting the new airlines which contributed to expansion of destinations and our network. 

See all airport improvements

  • Construction of a multi-layered car park lot with space for 800 vehicles
  • A 3,590m segment of the 1km of main runway has been rebuilt from scratch, along with a 1,250m segment of the second runway, and the bearing strength was increased up to 70 units. On this area the flood lighting system was also upgraded which corresponds to a CAT III landing system
  • Taxiways have been rebuilt, increasing their bearing capacity
  • The apron has been extended with a segment reconstructed from scratch. As a result CIA has 27 fully functional parking stands
  • A new sewage system for water drainage and purification was built;
  • The power supply system was upgraded, increasing safety at Chisinau International Airport was strengthened. A new central power distribution point was built and the old equipment from the distribution stations was replaced. In order to guarantee the reliability of the power distribution, 29km of cable system was replaced
  • The departure/arrival halls, customs control zone, baggage handling at arrival/departure zone, handling companies premises were put in commission, extended and modernised
  • The check-in area was expanded, increasing the number of check-in counters from 12 to 18, and a new baggage handling conveyor was installed. At departures, the number of passport control counters increased from six to 12. Furthermore, to ensure simultaneous service of several flights, two security check points were added for passengers, now totalling four. The boarding gates more than doubled from four to nine
  • The arrival hall was extended through a new two-storey construction, raising the number of entries from two to five and passport control counters from eight to 16. The space next to the control counters was also doubled

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

The modernisation of the airport’s infrastructure contributed considerably to the improvement of the passengers’ security level and flight safety, which played a decisive role in making Chisinau Airport more attractive for airlines. 

Over the past three years, passenger traffic at Chisinau International Airport has almost doubled. The portfolio of destinations was diversified and expanded. 

As a result of the modernisation, Wizz Air – the largest low-cost airline from Central and Eastern Europe, established an operational base at the Chisinau International Airport.

After the reconstruction of the runway, taxiways and apron, the operational capacity will also increase, so CIA will serve all types of aircraft. This will contribute to increasing of the number of flights.

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

The airport absolutely aims to become the main partner for airlines.

To actively promote not only of the airport’s potential, but also that of the whole country, our representatives participate at the most important aviation forums from Europe and around the world; Routes Europe, Routes Silk Road, World Routes etc.

During these events we established cooperative relationships with different airlines in order to extend and diversify the flights operated from CIA.    

We are constantly working hard to transform our airport into a competitive and modern one, which meets the most exigent European standards and becomes more attractive for airlines. In this respect, a lot of meetings with European experts take place, from whom we adopt the practices used in other European airports.  

Pictured: Chisinau International Airport's modern new look

Q: How was 2016 generally for CIA?

2016 was a year full of challenges for CIA but also huge accomplishments regarding the modernisation of the airport’s infrastructure after Avia Invest allocated the necessary resources to ensure a high level of comfort and safety for passengers.

Accordingly, the modernisation works of the terminal infrastructure continued. We created optimal conditions for passenger traffic fluidity in the terminal with the extension and complete renovation of the passenger check-in zone and an entirely new section of the arrival hall.

Border control has become faster and more convenient, avoiding crowds by increasing the number of check-in desks, passport control counters, security check points, boarding gates, and entrances at arrivals.

Consequently, to create a pleasant atmosphere for passengers we implemented two innovative ideas, most notably the vertical garden and video wall located in the airport’s terminal.     

To increase passenger safety, Avia Invest procured and put into operation modern and progressive security equipment at CIA. 

To ensure a high level flight safety, investments were made in modernisation and reconstruction of the airport’s infrastructure. Major works were performed on the runways, taxiways and apron, while maintaining uninterrupted airport operations. 

A segment of the 1km runway was reconstructed, the flood lighting system being upgraded on this area. The index of the bearing strength of the runway coatings on this segment was increased from 51 more than 70, which will significantly increase the operational capacity of the airport. 

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

The greatest achievement is that we managed to bring satisfaction and put smiles our passengers faces; all of our efforts are designed to bring a high level of comfort and safety for those who choose to travel from and to CIA.    

I am proud of the evolution of Chisinau International Airport in the last few years. This fact is confirmed by data from our latest survey in 2016, which proves that more than 85 percent of travellers are ‘pleased’ or ‘very pleased’ by the changes which took place at the airport. Every second passenger now leaves our airport with an ‘outstanding’ experience.   

Another confirmation of the efforts made is being awarded the distinction of “The airport with the most dynamic development from the CIS countries with a passenger flow up to five million passengers per year” by Association Airport. It is worth mentioning the airport was awarded in this category for the first time in its history, which indicates the intense development together with the constant passenger traffic growth. 

Q: With regard to increasing threats on an international scale, what security standards were adopted in order to make CIA safer?

Avia Invest has a constant focus on passenger security. New high-technology security equipment was procured – X-ray equipment for hand and hold luggage security checks, metal detector gates, portable metal detectors for passengers and staff control, electronic access control system and explosives detectors. Also all our personnel have been professionally trained in this field; all these actions have significantly increased the level of aviation security. 

CIA is the first airport in the CIS to use such advanced control and security systems.

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

First of all, we are constantly catering to the needs of our passengers, airlines and partners.  We are always receptive to their requests, implementing the most efficient solutions for a safe and modern airport. Avia Invest is doing its best for every traveller to spend quality time in our European-standard airport and is continuously striving for optimal conditions for airlines to operate in.