The Zhukovsky Airport located 32 kilometres from the Moscow Ring Road (MKAD) is relatively new, May 30, 2016 is an official date of its opening as an airfield where civil airplanes land and take off. An EcoTourism Expert correspondent visited this airport and found out the most convenient way to get there, as well as what can be bought in a ‘clean’ area before flying abroad.
It should be noted that there are several discrepancies in the name of the airport. On the one hand, the airport was initially supposed to be called Ramenskoye because of its location at the Ramenskoye airfield used earlier and now for flight testing the experimental aircraft and operated by the Gromov Flight Research Institute. In addition, the EMERCOM’s aircraft fly from this aerodrome, and before the opening of the Zhukovsky civil airport, it was also used for international cargo air transportation. The aerodrome officially was called Zhukovsky in May 2016, while in the state register of aerodromes and civil aviation helicopter aerodromes (helidromes), it is still registered as Ramenskoye.
This confusion, however, is not an obstacle to get to a small ‘gateway’ in the southeast of the Moscow Region. Although it should be mentioned that it is more difficult to get to this airport than to the renowned Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo, and Vnukovo airports.
By the way, there are plans to bring the metro line to the Vnukovo Airport in the near future, but there are no plans to build a metro line to the Zhukovsky Airport in the foreseeable future. Although at the level of the government of the Moscow Region and the Russian Railways company, plans are under discussion to build a railway directly to the terminal and launch Aeroexpress trains.
So, it is possible to get to this airport by train going in the Kazan (Ryazan) direction to the Otdykh platform. Since the railroad bifurcates after the Lyubertsy-1 station, you need to take those trains that go to the Ramenskoye, Ippodrome, Bronnitsy, Vinogradovo, Shifernaya, and Golutvin stations. The journey is not long and takes about an hour by a regular train and about 35 minutes by an express train, and the train tickets cost just 102 and 160 roubles, respectively.
From the Otdykh platform, you need to leave the train to the right and change to a special shuttle bus. These busses go quite often, every 30 minutes. It takes no more than half an hour and the bus ticket is 100 roubles with the luggage already included in the ticket price.
Those who are not used to waste time on numerous transfers from one mode of transport to another can get to the airport by bus 441 that departs from the Kotelniki metro station. Your humble narrator lives in the city of Ramenskoye and travels to Moscow using the route similar to bus 441’s one quite often, so I’d like to warn you that the road to the airport may take much longer than one hour. The fact is that along the way, there are not only road repair works at the sites where the Novoryazanskoye highway is being expanded - which causes very serious traffic jams - but also numerous traffic lights when passing through the villages of Mirny, Oktyabrsky and Ostrovtsy.
Today, from the Zhukovsky airport people can travel in Russia and fly to Belarus, as well as to other countries, for example, to Turkey by flights of the Corendon low-cost airline, as well as to Israel and China. However, the airport operates flights to the countries of the Central Asia and the Caucasus, such as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. The airplanes also fly to Kazakhstan, to the cities of Astana, Karaganda and Petropavlovsk.
I must say that a small number of flights (on average, about ten per day) results in a slow work of the airport employees. It is seen not only in the online reviews about the work of the airport, I also had to stand in a very small queue for about an hour to check-in for my flight. By the way, the same was on the way back - we had to spend at least forty minutes in the crowd at the border checkpoint on our way from Turkey, although only one our airplane arrived that night.
However, because of a small passenger flow, after passing all the procedures everything is great when you get to a ‘clean’ zone. Since the number of passengers on departing planes rarely exceeds two hundred people, there are always vacant seats for travellers, there is no problem with recharging your smartphone if you did not do this at home or on the way to the airport. In the area in front of the gates, you can also have a snack as many snack bars and coffee bars are open, and there is a rather big Duty Free shop where you can walk and no crowd is seen (passengers of only one flight gather in this place at a time).
The situation is quite comfortable for those who - like the author of the notes - go on a trip not just by a charter, but by a low-cost airline. In our case, free food and drinks were not served on board a plane, however, two sandwiches and two bottles of water bought just before the flight helped during the flight and costed 400 roubles only, which is pretty cheap for an airport!
The only nuance that can seriously spoil the trip is the microclimate of the Zhukovsky Airport. It is located in the floodplain of the Moskva River, and it is often foggy there. Due to weather conditions, quite often there is very dense fog in the floodplain, which makes it difficult for an aircraft to land. In such cases, it remains only to hope for a high training level and good experience of a pilot-in-command in navigating a plane in bad weather, which allows him to safely take off or land in bad weather. By the way, the author of the notes also had to face this situation upon arrival home as the fog on the runway was so thick that the airplane had to go around again. And when the airplane landed finally, the fog turned out to be so dense that even the winglets - graceful-looking upturned wing tip extensions reducing drag by inhibiting turbulence - were not visible.