Sochi, 27 November 2013 – Basel Aero, a part of Russia’s largest industrial diversified group Basic Element, announces that with 100 days to go until the opening ceremony of the XI Winter Paralympic Games, the Sochi International Airport is fully geared up to welcome Paralympians from all over the world.
November 27th brings the 100-days-to-go milepost to the start of the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Russia’s Sochi. The Sochi International Airport, the main gateway for the Sochi 2014 Paralympics, has introduced permanent accessibility improvements for passengers with reduced mobility as it prepares to welcome almost 1,500 Paralympic athletes.
The new facilities and additional staff training which are part of Basel Aero’s $1 million investment in the
airport’s accessibility program, will continue to benefit all passengers with reduced mobility long after the Paralympics.
Accessibility infrastructure includes two ambulifts that are used to help passengers with reduced mobility embark and disembark aircraft. They can service up to five people simultaneously and can be operated with different types of aircraft. Access through its tail-lift is easy and the large-size front platform adjusts perfectly to all aircraft door sills thanks to its telescopic extension.
Disabled passengers can safely and comfortably move from the ambulift to the plane using lightweight aisle chairs. There will be 29 of them what is enough to serve Paralympic athletes on the peak arrivals day.
As part of the program, the airport is equipped with mnemonic schemes featuring Braille letters, installed near the entrance and inside the terminal. Physically-challenged passengers can also use a special check-in desk. If the passenger wishes to pass their own check-in, he can do it on a separate check-in desk with a special information signs. There is a separate line for people with limited mobility in the preflight control area.
The airport’s information desk boasts induction portable panels for the hearing impaired. Special yellow sign navigation, installed throughout the terminal, will help visually-impaired passengers to make their way through the building while a wheelchair-friendly elevator with Braille letters on the buttons will make it easy to reach the second floor.
The parking lot has also been redesigned to provide 71 dedicated parking spaces for the disabled. Another six spaces for debarking people with reduced mobility will be located just near the entrance to the terminal.
Specially-trained medical assistants (paramedics) will help the passengers during check-in, registration of luggage and a transfer from the departure lounge to an aircraft. They can also meet passengers with reduced mobility at the arrival.
Sochi airport has upgraded and increased its fleet of buggies for transporting physically-challenged passengers through the airport to a total of 30 vehicles.
Leonid Sergeev, Basel Aero CEO, comments: “We’ve prepared everything to ensure the best and smoothest service for passengers with special needs. However, Basel Aero is still searching for new approaches and ways to make the accessibility program even more effective. Airport Sochi pledges to give a warmest welcome to Paralympians and their companions. ”
Paralympics athletes already had a chance to use the airport’s facilities during 2013 test events season in February and March when Sochi hosted World Wheelchair Curling Championship, IPC Biathlon & Cross-Country Skiing World Cup as well as alpine skiing and sledge hockey tournaments.
The International Paralympic Committee has also praised the airport’s infrastructure that is ready to face one of the biggest operational challenges.
About Sochi International Airport
The airport, run by Basel Aero, was founded on 10 December, 1945. It is in the top ten Russian airports in terms of the number of passengers handled. During the ten months of 2013, Sochi International Airport served 2.1 mln passengers, 12% more than in the same period last year. About 235,000 passengers were served on international routes (32% more year-over-year) and almost 1.8 mln – on domestic ones (10% more year-over-year). A total of 2,656 tonnes of cargo and mail was processed in January-October. The airport has been recognized as the best regional airport at the III annual forum “Development of Russia and CIS airports - 2013”, held by Adam Smith Conference.
About Basel Aero
Basel Aero (www.basel.aero), founded in 2007, manages the airport assets of the group "Basic Element". Since June 2012, it is a joint venture that comprises of "Basic Element", OJSC "Sberbank of Russia" and Changi Airports International (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Changi Airport Group). The "Basel Aero" includes airports in Krasnodar, Sochi, Gelendzhik and Anapa. Airports serving more than 7% of the total passenger traffic in Russia and about 1.5% of the total cargo traffic. One of the major projects of Basel Aero is preparing International Airport for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. In January-August 2013 Basel Aero airports served almost 5 mln passengers, 12% more than in the same period in 2012. The development strategy of Basel Aero includes improving operational efficiency of assets and geographic expansion of the business.
About Basic Element
Basic Element (www.basel.ru) is one of the Russia's largest and most dynamic diversified industrial groups. Basic Element's companies are controlled by or are within the scope of business interests of Oleg Deripaska, one of major Russian businessmen. Basic Element through its affiliates owns significant stakes in and operates a number of companies in many segments: Energy, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Construction, Aviation, Agriculture and others. Over 250,000 people work at more than 100 of Group's companies in Russia, the CIS, Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Many of them play key roles in their respective market segments in Russia and internationally, including En+ Group, GAZ Group, Glavstroy, Basel Aero and others.