07MOSCOW404, RUSSIA: DELTA AND SHEREMETYEVO AIRPORT OFFICIALS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW404 2007-01-31 14:46 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #0404 0311446
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311446Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1923
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7043
RHMCSUU/FAA CARF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS MOSCOW 000404 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
EUR/RUS FOR HOLMAN 
EB/TRA BYERLY AND COLEMAN 
FAA FOR SHARP 
LONDON FOR BARKS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAIR ECON RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA: DELTA AND SHEREMETYEVO AIRPORT OFFICIALS 
DISCUSS FLIGHT DELAYS 
 
1. (SBU) Delta and Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) officials met 
January 29 to discuss delays in take off - and as a result, 
of its overall "block time" - of its Moscow-Atlanta flight. 
(Block time refers to push back from departure gate to 
arrival at gate at entry point.)  Delta Flight 47's "block 
time" has continually exceeded 12 hours - the maximum allowed 
by FAA for U.S. carriers - since construction of Sheremetyevo 
(SVO) Terminal 3 started, causing long taxi lines for take 
off.  As a temporary solution, Delta pilots will radio the 
control tower for advice on taxi time before they push back 
from the gate.  In three weeks (pending Atlanta approval), 
Delta 47's departure time will change from 12:55PM to 
12:25PM, which will put the aircraft first in line to depart, 
after the runway is reopened following its daily 
construction closure. 
 
2. (SBU) The tone of the meeting was positive and both sides 
were clearly committed to keep Delta 47 running.  Delta's 
Atlanta-Moscow flight is running at 90-95% capacity and is 
more popular than its link to New York.  The plane carries 
approximately 200 passengers six days per week. 
 
BACKGROUND 
 
3. (SBU) Under FAA directives, airlines can exceed its block 
time no more than 30% of its flights in any given 90-day 
period.  Since construction of Sheremetyevo Terminal 3 began, 
Delta has faced increased taxi time on the SVO runway and 
exceeded the twelve-hour block time almost daily.  According 
to Delta, it has taken steps to reduce its block time: paying 
Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport for priority service so it can 
proceed directly to the gate upon arrival; reprogramming its 
flight mapping computer to go faster to reduce flight time 
(though costing $800-$1000 more in daily fuel), and working 
with SVO to reduce the taxi time before take off in Moscow. 
 
4. (SBU) Sheremetyevo Terminal 3 construction is expected to 
continue until the beginning of 2008.  The runway is closed 
for 80 minutes each morning for unavoidable construction. 
SVO Deputy Director General for Operations Vladimir Buryak 
and Director of Air Traffic Control Alexander Vedernikov 
voiced their support to help Delta find a long-term solution. 
They offered Delta a daily 12:25PM take off time, which would 
make it the first to depart after the construction break and, 
therefore, eliminate its taxi time.  Delta's Atlanta HQ's 
representative, who attended this meeting, said this 
long-term solution would work pending senior HQ approval, but 
Delta would need three weeks to change its tickets, notify 
passengers, and adjust connections.  SVO agreed to the 
three-week delay. 
BURNS

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