Increasing the Aviation Accessibility and Modernization of Airports Discussed at the Seminar on Small Aircraft Aviation in the Arctic

A seminar on small aircraft aviation in the Arctic was held in Moscow within the frames of the action plan of Russia’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, the operator being the Roscongress Foundation. The seminar was attended by representatives of transportation agencies and organizations of the Arctic Council member states, the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) and the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response Working Group (EPPR), as well as indigenous minorities of the Arctic. The organizers are the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation together with the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia).

The participants considered such topics as improving the route network in the Arctic region, development of air transportation, introduction of the use of unmanned aircraft, and coordination in the field of search and rescue between the Arctic countries.

The seminar noted the need to strengthen cooperation between the Arctic states on infrastructure development in the region, including the development of the route network to ensure transport accessibility of Arctic residents.

“Due to the lack of alternative modes of transport in the Arctic, transporting people and delivering goods is impossible without aviation. The insufficiently developed airfield network of the Arctic region dictates the need to develop small aircraft aviation, including unmanned aircrafts that can carry out transportation with small landing grounds and unpaved runways,” stressed Igor Chalik, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation.

Artur Chilingarov, Special Envoy of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic, noted in his greeting that small aircrafts in the Arctic both deliver people and cargo to remote areas, and carry out scientific research and implementation of international scientific projects, as well as search and rescue operations.

It was noted that the Ministry for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic together with the Ministry of Transport of Russia and the Federal Air Transport Agency are working to improve aviation accessibility of the Arctic territories and modernize the airport infrastructure. Today, there are at least 39 airports in the Arctic zone of Russia, ten of which will be modernized by 2027.

The participants also discussed the prospects for developing the air navigation services and route network in the Arctic zone. Amendments to the federal aviation regulations are currently being prepared and will allow the use of remote video surveillance for air traffic control. The technology will be especially relevant for remote airports of the Far North. In particular, such equipment is supposed to be installed in the airports of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Yakutsk and Magan.

The seminar also considered the technologies for building runways in the Arctic regions of Russia and Canada, the experience of operating aviation equipment, the specific features of pilot training for the Arctic zone, the prospects of using helicopter technology, and the plans of Russian Post JSC for unmanned cargo delivery. A separate discussion was held on the development of tourist routes in the region to increase the flow of tourists between the Arctic states.

The results of the seminar on small aircraft aviation in the Arctic will be included in the agenda of the subsequent meetings of the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group.