Sheremetyevo Shapes Up ....
Moscow's second airport is busy trying to regain its position as Russia's main hub.
Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) used to be the gateway to Russia. Then in the early 2000s, Moscow rival Domodedovo International Airport (DME), owned by East Line Group, successfully wooed large international carriers such as British Airways, JAL, Lufthansa and Swiss away with modern facilities and big investment plans. The result is that Domodedovo took the crown as Russia's busiest passenger airport, leaving state-owned Sheremetyevo in its shadow.
However, both airports play a crucial role as aviation hubs; DME for several airlines such as Transaero and S7, and SVO for the vast state airline Aeroflot. Having lost its premier position, SVO has been revamping, and adding to, its infrastructure and recently opened the new Terminal C, while Terminal D, inaugurated in 2009, is home to Aeroflot and its partner airlines in the Sky Team alliance.
For travellers, all the changes have been a trial. The new facilities have been welcomed but the fact that SVO has renamed its terminals • moving from numbers to letters (see end) • as well as the shift of airlines around the terminals has created a lot of confusion. For this reason, among others, Skytrax, the airlines and airports ratings website, only gives SVO 2* out of 5* (at the time of writing).
The airport has however improved is in its retail offer, which scores much better. It has been transformed as new terminals and upgrades have come on-stream and in line with a more affluent Russian customer looking for luxury products. In Terminal F for example where many Asian airlines are based and which is accessible by passengers from TD and TE, there are several large competing stores after passport control such as Aerofirst, RegStaer Duty Free and Runway.
Aerofirst, also known as Moscow Duty Free, has a wide selection of goods including international perfumes, cosmetics, liquor, tobacco, fashion, accessories, watches, jewellery, souvenirs and local delicacies. RegStaer has a similar assortment and stresses the originality of its products (given the abundance of fakes that can be found in the local market) and its focus goes from fashion like high-end handbags, business shirts and hand-made ties, to writing instruments, watches and other accessories.
Runway Retail operates a sunglasses shop that boasts top brands like Christian Dior, Furla, Police, Givenchy, Escada, Fendi, Roberto Cavalli, Prada, Emilio Pucci and more. In addition it has accessories such as watches from prestige brands like Moschino, Just Cavalli, Sector and Versus. One of the best places to look if you want something with a local flavour is on the next level up where the Souvenirs Store sells obligatory nested dolls, Russian national suits and the like.
Landside in this terminal and several others is a Euroset Communication store selling cellular phones and SIM cards, digital cameras and other techie accessories. There is also a Souvenirs and Gifts Mini-Mart where you can find traditional Russian souvenirs to fancier items from brands such as Gzhel, Kirovskaya Matryoshka, Palekh and Khokhloma.
There are limited routes from Terminal B, mostly domestic, but if you happen to be processed there (and flying on a private business jet) the RegStaer unit here specialises in rare products from luxury elite brands such as Zilli and Montblanc. Also here is Mantissa Company which sells books, newspapers and magazines plus drinks and pastries while the 36,6 drug store offers beauty and health goods. Perhaps the most unusual store you will come across • and possibly reflecting the skew of the route network • is the Church Goods store where you can stock up on religious items and Christian literature.
After passport control Dixis, an official distributor of many cellular and electronics brands, sells Alcatel, Hyundai, LG, Motorola, Nokia, ORA Electronics, Panasonic, Philips, Sagem, Samsung, Sharp, BenQ-Siemens and Sony Ericsson, among others.
In Terminal C, which handles a mix of CIS routes and charters, the retailing is more informal and airside includes a Dufry duty free store acting as a one-stop area for standard product categories like liquor, tobacco, perfumes, accessories and fashion. The store often offers discounts which change regularly, and has exclusive limited editions available for limited periods.
Doctor Stoletov is an apothecary selling not only medicines and herbal compounds but everything from medical cosmetics and dietary supplements, to tea and healthy foods. Dufry also runs Moscow Sunglasses selling a high-end mix popular with rich Russians heading for the beach. They include: Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Ray Ban, Vogue, Chopard, Tom Ford and Hugo Boss. Other shops with a wide assortment include Lotte Duty Free and RegStaer, H Stern Leviev for the best in jewellery, and a Cigar Room selling Cuban brands.
From December 2009, SVO started renaming its terminals as follows:
- Sheremetyevo 1 is now Terminal B (SVO-B)
- Terminal С (SVO-С), no change
- Sheremetyevo 3 is now Terminal D (SVO-D)
- Terminal Е (SVO-Е) came into operation in 2010, connecting D and F
- Sheremetyevo 2 is now Terminal F (SVO-F)
- The three south terminals (D, E and F) are connected by galleries into a terminal complex. Meanwhile Terminal A (business aviation), B and C will eventually form the northern sector of the airport.
- Passenger numbers, 2010: 19.3 million.
- Airlines: More than 40 of which the biggest (by number of routes) are Aeroflot, Transaero Airlines, Nordavia and Nordwind Airlines