M.Davaajav: Airports develop regardless of nation’s population

Trans. by B.DULGUUN 

Mongolian aviation first began with four aircrafts in March 1925. The anniversary of the branch’s establishment is celebrated annually as the Mongolian Aviation Day. This year, Mongolia is celebrating the Mongolian Aviation Day for the 90th year.

To commemorate this special occasion,  President of Chinggis Khaan International Airport (CHKHIA) M.Davaajav was interviewed about the history of the airport and its operations.

Happy 90th anniversary of Mongolian Aviation Day. Can you briefly tell us about CHKHIA’s history? 

Thank you. The 90 year old foundation stone of Mongolia’s first aviation branch was laid on May 25, 1925. Later in the 1930s, Dobrolet LLC of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic received flight permission between Ulaan-Uud and Ulaanbaatar from Mongolia and an aerodrome runway and airport was set up in Morin Valley. This airport was named Dobr and became the foundation of Mongolia’s international airport.

In 1957, Buyant-Ukhaa Airport was established at the order of the minister in charge of military and social security. The following year, the airport expanded operations by running international flights from Ulaanbaatar to Russia’s Irkutsk city and China’s capital, Beijing, an Ilyushin Il-14 aircraft. Also, the airport was renamed to Buyant-Ukhaa International Airport.

Afterwards, in the 1990s, the airport was upgraded with the latest aviation technology and equipment with the assistance of Asian Development Bank, making it a modern airport with 24-hour operations that meet the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

The airport was renamed to Chinggis Khaan International Airport to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the establishment of the Mongol State on December 21, 2005. Our airport has nine offices, four division and three departments. We have over 700 employees. 

CHKHIA seems to have improved its outside landscape and interior design. What is CHKHIA planning for its 90th anniversary?

Within the scope of the anniversary, the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia and CHKHIA are organizing a wide range of productive activities. Rather than celebrations, we’re marking the special occasion with expanded construction work and efficient work results. We’re focusing more on welcoming passengers by improving exterior and interior designs. Our Security, Protective Service Department encouraged active participation of other sections and organized a humanitarian campaign at Khan-Uul District’s Special School No.63 for children with disabilities. We all raised six million MNT to organize a whole day program, named “Setgeliin Dem”, earlier this year. At the event, we gave out gifts and donated over 200 books.

An airport needs to be impressive, comfortable and secure to attract tourists. As this is our most important task, CHKHIA initiated works in these areas specifically. For example, our staff schedule a week for introducing and presenting ideas for developing the airport and improving its operations. By presenting their ideas, employees get the opportunity to receive funding from authorities, have urgent issues settled, and get permission to execute their work. This is very effective as approved projects continue even after the week is over.

Also, our airport is cooperating with project proponent companies of the new international airport in Khushigt Valley in Tuv Province on its research work and planning. We’ve been working diligently for improving tourism in recent years, and currently, we’re preparing for the ASEM Summit, which is to be hosted in Mongolia next year. 

CHKHIA has an important role for promoting Mongolia globally. Can you share your views on the development of CHKHIA?

CHKHIA is small compared to airports of other countries. Its size can be considered reasonable for Mongolia, but the number of tourists visiting Mongolia because of interests in Mongolia’s mining, minerals, and eco-environment has been increasing lately. It’s necessary to develop the airport and make it compliant to global standards.

CHKHIA was first established with a capacity to serve 500 people every hour, but it became capable of serving 800 people an hour with the expansion work from 1994 to 1997, completed with funds from the Asian Development Bank. Since then, we’ve renovated several times and enlarged our establishment. Now, we’ve upgraded into a passenger service complex capable of providing services to 1,000 people an hour and are operating 24-hours a day, which complies with international standards. According to a survey, an average of 1.1 million passengers come through CHKHIA. During the peak period in summer, 45 to 50 airplanes arrive and depart a day at our airport. 

The 11th ASEM Summit will be held in Mongolia before the new Ulaanbaatar International Airport is commissioned. How is the preparation work for welcoming guests progressing? 

There’s still two years until the new international airport in Khushigt Valley is completed. Even if it’s commissioned on time, a considerable amount of time will be required for installing navigation devices, holding trial flights, and announcing the opening to international airports and other necessary works. So, Mongolia will not launch a new airport in just two years. Besides ensuring preparation works for welcoming guests and representatives of the ASEM Summit, we introduced issues that need to be settled urgently to a working group led by the Prime Minister. Thanks to this, we have resolved issues related to airstrips, runway, taxiway and necessary financial issues for a transit flight project.

In relation to this, the Civil Aviation Authority announced that projects worth some 20 billion MNT have been planned for CHKHIA and that by enforcing the transit flight project, the airport will not only increase its capacity to receive passengers but also get nine more parking area, also known as airport apron, and renew its airstrip where aircrafts take off and land. Mapping, financial and organizational issues for expanding the field for transit zone have been determined. Expansion works will be completed this summer without hindering normal flight operations. Once they’re completed, preparations for the ASEM Summit will become fully ensured.

Soon, tourists will come to see the National Naadam Festival. The Ulaanbaatar Mayor claimed that the aerial door of Ulaanbaatar is CHKHIA. Our airport completed landscaping, green facility and labels without depending on the state to provide good services and ensure the comfort of our passengers. We’re cooperating with the Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s Office on projects to attract tourists.

 How is Mongolia’s economic difficulty impacting the airport’s operations? What kind of works have been initiated to overcome damages from the economic crisis? 

Indeed the economic crisis has impacted our organization to a certain degree. The number of passengers and companies working with us or use our services have slightly declined. However, it hasn’t impacted as much as to force us to decrease employees and cut costs. The organization’s economy hasn’t worsened either.

As the economy is facing difficulties, we’re working to cut expenditure and increase revenue. We used to have foreign companies do maintenance work, but now, we’re trying to have it completed by our own workforce. We had our interior landscaping work done by our staff voluntarily. Our staff are planning many things for improving the quality of services and creating new services.

 Starting from the position of head of Uvs and Khuvsgul Provinces’ airports and working at the Civil Aviation Authority, and to the president’s position at CHKHIA, you’ve been working in the aviation sector for many years. How do you see this sectors’ development in the future? 

The civil aviation sector that’s been developing for the past 90 years is the key infrastructure sector of Mongolia. Depending on its development, it allows aviation relations with other countries. Mongolia passed the ICAO’s review in 2008 and our flight operations were approved in Asian countries.

As it is a sector that helps me make a living, I imagine its future to be positive. I once said that airports develop regardless of the size of the population. For instance, the population of Doha city in Qatar is very small. Still, it engages in transit flights connecting all continents. Mongolia is capable of doing the same. Geographically, our nation has a very convenient location. All flights connecting Asia, Europe and other continents can be flown through our air route. Mongolia must have an airport with services consistent with international standards to attract all those international organizations and passengers. Passenger and transportation companies identify which flight routes are the shortest and most affordable. Also, Mongolia can use its economically friendly and secure status to its advantage. 

Source: http://www.polit.mn/


Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=14711

Posted by on May 26 2015. Filed under Prime Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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