Simferopol International Airport (Russian: Международный аэропорт "Симферополь", Mezhdunarodnyy aeroport "Simferopol’"; Ukrainian: Міжнародний аеропорт "Сімферополь", Mizhnarodnyy aeroport "Simferopol’"; Crimean Tatar: Aqmescit Halqara Ava Limanı, Акъмесджит Халкъара Ава Лиманы; (IATA: SIP) (Russian AIP: URFF, УРФФ) is an airport in Simferopol, de facto the capital of the Republic of Crimea. Built in 1936, the airport today has one international terminal and one domestic terminal.
On 14 May 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine which, de facto, has no control over the airport, voted to rename it Amet-khan Sultan International Airport in memory of Amet-khan Sultan. (Another airport named after Amet-khan Sultan is Uytash Airport located in Makhachkala, Russia.) However, in 2018, Russian citizens voted that the airport be named after the marine painter Ivan Aivazovsky, a native of Crimea.
On 21 January 1936, the Council of People's Commissars of the Crimean Autonomous Republic decided to allocate land and begin construction of the Simferopol Airport. Simferopol to Moscow flights began in May 1936. Before the Second World War, regular air travel was established between Simferopol and Kiev, Kharkiv, and other airports. In 1957, a terminal was commissioned. Lighting equipment was installed on a dirt runway and IL-12, IL-14, and Mi-4 aircraft began landing at the airport. In 1960, a concrete runway with an apron and parking areas was constructed. The airport began to operate around the clock and in adverse weather conditions, using new aircraft such as Antonov An-10 and IL-18. In the 1950s and 1960s, the AN-2 carried cargo and passenger flights to regional centers of the Crimea, and the Mi-4 flew to Yalta. In the summer of 1960, a squadron of Tu-104 was organized for the first time in Ukrainian SSR. Starting in 1964, the An-24 was based at the airport.
Construction of the second runway, designed for IL-86, IL-76, IL-62, and Tu-154 aircraft, began in 1977. On 19 May 1982, Simferopol airport was the first in Ukrainian SSR to have a wide-IL-86. In subsequent years, this type of aircraft made an average of 5.6 daily flights to Moscow. In the summer of 1989, the airport was designated as a "western alternate airport" for landing the Buran spacecraft. In the early 2000s, the old runway 01R/19L (length 2700 m, PCN 22/R/B/X/T, accommodating a maximum weight of aircraft of 98 tonnes) was taken out of service because of its insufficient length and strength. Since then, it has been used as taxiway D with a length of 2100 m (the remaining 600 meters are unsuitable for taxiing). The second runway (01/19) is now in operation and is longer, wider and accommodates heavier aircraft.
Following the 2014 Crimean crisis pro-Russian militia forces took control of the airport on 28 February 2014. Crimean airspace was closed and air traffic was disrupted for two days. On 11 March, Russian forces took over the control tower and closed Crimean airspace until the end of week. Ukraine International Flight PS65 was denied landing and diverted to Kiev. With the Russian Takeover of the Airport, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) expressed concerns about the safety of international flights in the region and recommended airlines to avoid Crimean airspace. By the same token on 3 March 2014, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), who also did not recognize the unilateral takeover of Ukrainian airspace by another country, had confirmed that the majority of transitional air routes have been closed, in accordance with the Chicago Convention. Ukrainian airlines also suspended routes to Simferopol.
Under the Russian control (Russia not being a member of Eurocontrol), the airport operates flights only to destinations in Russia. On June 2014 Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, signed a Government resolution №960 to open the airport for international flights, however, as of March 2016 no international flights were operated. On 29 July 2014 Rosaviation granted Chechen airline Grozny Avia permission to operate nonstop flights from Simferopol to the Armenian capital of Yerevan and Turkish cities of Istanbul and Antalya. However, these flights were technically domestic since they operated with a stopover in Anapa. Both of the routes were suspended the same year.
In May 2015 the Ukrainian Parliament voted in favor of renaming the Simferopol airport in honor of the Crimean-Tatar war hero Amet-khan Sultan. The Airport's management team has responded that the authority to decree such changes is vested in the Russian government, and that they do not feel the need to respond to the Ukrainian parliament's ruling. Russian State Duma deputy, Vasiliy Likhachyov, has also released a statement dismissing this ruling as having no official authority.
In May 2016 construction began of a new terminal building, with a larger hall on a wave-like structure and 8 gates for flights.
The new terminal was opened on 16 April 2018, with the first arrival at 8:30 AM of Nordwind Airlines from Moscow-Sheremetyevo, followed by other flights. The terminal was previously checked by 400 volunteers on 12 April 2018. The current terminal will be for VIP, business passengers and some space is going to be converted to the trolleybus and bus terminal.
This new terminal is 1km west from the old terminal, between the main runway and the old one, making the eastern part of the airport useless. Eventually, the old runway (01R/19L) will be reconstructed and the airport will be able to operate with two runways simultaneously, such as Domodedovo Airport. The new terminal has 8 gates to air-bridges and 8 gates to apron buses, 16 escalators and 28 lifts, 55 check-in counters and the airport terminal is able to handle 6 million passenger annually.
Attention! Since there is no URFF airport code in the X-Plane database, for correct scene operation, we are looking for the default apt.dat (do not forget to save the original just in case), which by default in X-plane 11 is located at X-Plane 11 Resources default scenery default apt dat Earth nav data, we find through the search code UKFF and change our hands to URFF, then close the file with the preservation.
If you do not do this - in the simulator you will see at once TWO ports in one place: UKFF and URFF.