Vnukovo International Airport (IATA: VKO, ICAO: UUWW), is a dual-runway international airport located 28 kilometres (17 mi) southwest of the centre of Moscow, Russia. It is one of the three major airports that serve Moscow, along with Domodedovo International Airport and Sheremetyevo International Airport. In 2015, the airport handled 15.82 million passengers, representing an increase of 24% compared to the previous year. It is the third-busiest airport in Russia.
Vnukovo is Moscow's oldest operating airport. It was opened and used for military operations during the Second World War, but became a civilian facility after the war. Its construction was approved by the Soviet government in 1937, because the older Khodynka Aerodrome (located much closer to the city centre, but closed by the 1980s) was becoming overloaded. Vnukovo was opened on 1 July 1941. During the Great Patriotic War, it was used as a military airbase; passenger services started after the war.
On 15 September 1956, the Tupolev Tu-104 jetliner made its first passenger flight from Moscow Vnukovo to Irkutsk via Omsk.
On 4 November 1957, a plane carrying Romanian Workers' Party officials, including the most prominent politicians of Communist Romania (Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Chivu Stoica, Alexandru Moghioroş, Ştefan Voitec, Nicolae Ceauşescu, Leonte Răutu, and Grigore Preoteasa), was involved in an accident at Vnukovo Airport. Preoteasa, who was Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, was killed, as was the aircraft's crew. Several others were seriously injured.
The first passenger flights of the IL-18 (Moscow to Alma-Ata on 20 April 1956) and Tu-114 (Moscow to Khabarovsk on 24 April 1961) were also made from Vnukovo Airport. In 1980, Vnukovo was expanded because of the 22nd Summer Olympic Games. In 1993, Vnukovo Airport became a joint-stock company.
Departure gate area
A massive reconstruction and strategic development programme commenced at Vnukovo International in late 2003, following the transfer by the Federal Government of the controlling stake in the airport to the Government of Moscow.
As part of the Airport Strategic Development Plan, the following projects were completed between 2003 and 2005:
April 2004: New Terminal B was opened. The terminal currently handles international passengers. But in the future, it will be converted to handle domestic flights or to fulfill any other dedicated functions to be determined at a later date. The terminal's total floor space offering stands at 80,000 sq m, allowing for an annual passenger throughput capacity of four million.
August 2005: Vnukovo's Aeroexpress rail link to Kiyevsky Rail Terminal was opened.
December 2010: New Terminal A was opened.
Vnukovo is Europe's busiest airport for international flights by larger private planes.