( RIA Novost i) - Russia's Transportation Ministry is considering a new concept for the development and management of the country's airport network, the minister said Tuesday.
Russia's airport infrastructure mostly inherited from the former Soviet Union and largely neglected in the 1990s requires modernization and significant investment to improve runways, passenger and cargo terminals, technological systems, air traffic control, transport and communications.
"We are planning to keep 60 out of 350 airports under federal supervision," Igor Levitin said. "The rest will be transferred to regional authority control."
Levitin said that investment programs for airport restructuring and development have been carried out very slowly due to difficulties in attracting investment, adding that his ministry had failed to receive 150 billion rubles ($5.72 bln) promised from the federal budget to overhaul existing facilities.
He also said that if the regional authorities were unable to assume responsibility for local airports, the facilities will be sold to private investors.
Industry experts estimate that passenger transportation on international and domestic routes in Russia will continue to grow by 10-15% annually.