Russia’s Gagarin International Airport will begin operations Aug. 20 to serve Saratov, Russian aviation authorities said.

Validation tests will run July 28 through Aug. 8, while a test flight is scheduled for Aug. 18.

All flights from Saratov Tsentralny Airport will be transferred to Gagarin within one day and the old airport will be closed.

Gagarin airport is located 20 km from Saratov and will have the IATA code GSV.

The new airport was built as a public-private partnership, although according to Russian legislation, airfields cannot be private; they are built by the government and designated government property, even if the airport is managed by a private company and its terminal infrastructure was built privately.

The government selected a Renova Group subsidiary, Airports of Regions, to lead the terminal construction and manage the airport. Airports of Regions also operates Yekaterinburg’s Koltsovo, Kurumoch Airport in Samara, Strigino International Airport in Nizhny Novgorod and Platov International Airport in Rostov-on-Don.

Gagarin will have a 23,000 sq m passenger terminal and 3,000x45 meter runway. It will be able to handle up to 1 million passengers a year. Saratov Tsentralny airport handled 425,867 passengers in 2018, down 11.5% year-over-year. Its home-based carrier, Saratov Airlines, ceased operations in 2018.

Polina Montag-Girmes