During a working trip to the Kherson region, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy got himself acquainted with the reconstruction of Kherson International Airport.
The Head of State was informed that in 2019 an investment project was launched to ensure the landing of aircraft in the evening and at night, as well as in difficult weather conditions. More than UAH 46 million is envisaged for this from the State Fund for Regional Development and over UAH 5 million from the regional budget. The project has already been funded for over UAH 11 million. The opening of the updated light signal system of the airport is planned for September this year.
In addition, the implementation of the regional program of the development of the airport for 2018-2020 is currently underway. The repair of the runway was carried out, and employees were trained to open the Kherson-Krakow flight. Additional equipment was purchased to improve the quality of passenger service. Also, the State Enterprise of Air Traffic Services of Ukraine decided to update the landing systems at the airport in 2020.
All this will allow the airport to get the first category of aircraft landing according to ICAO international standards.
"The airport is strategic. In the south, it is one of the most important hubs, and I would like it to become a hub for the flights from the Mykolayiv and Kherson regions… Even people from Zaporizhzhia come to us because Ryanair has launched very popular flights,” Kherson RSA Head Yurii Husiev said.
At the same time, there is still the issue of reconstruction of the runway and renewal of the fleet of air transport.
According to Minister of Infrastructure Vladyslav Krykliy, the total cost of complete restoration of the runway is UAH 1.2-1.5 billion, UAH 910 million has been envisaged for this year. However, with the support of the President, the amount of funding may be increased this year already.
Volodymyr Zelensky urged not to waste time and prepare a priority plan for the reconstruction of the airports.
"In order to talk to the Prime Minister about bringing the deadlines closer and increasing funds, we need a clear plan on all airports. We must study technical documents and see which airports can be launched very quickly. We need a queue of priorities," the Head of State explained.
He noted that Kherson airport is a very important priority because of the Crimean people who use it.
At the airport, Volodymyr Zelenskyy was met by former political prisoner Edem Bekirov, who has been illegally held captive in the occupied Crimea since 2018 and returned to Ukraine in September 2019 as part of the Ukrainian-Russian mutual release of captives.
Edem Bekirov presented a Crimean Tatar flag to the President as a gift.
"I would like to hand over this flag to you from the entire (Crimean Tatar) people, so that you can raise it in Crimea in the near future," he said.
The Head of State thanked Edem Bekirov and promised to keep the flag.
"We will return everyone: we will return Crimea, we will return people. We believe in this," Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed.