Moldova: a hidden gem with big potential

CargoForwarder Global had the pleasure of participating in Moldova’s inaugural aviation event, hosted at Chișinău Airport from 29-30MAY24. This landmark occasion followed a significant change earlier this year, when the airport’s IATA code was updated from KIV to RMO, symbolizing a closer connection of the airport´s name to the Republic of Moldova itself. The event provided valuable insights into the future plans of Moldova and its neighboring countries, promising exciting developments in the region’s aviation landscape.

Moderator Peter Baumgartner of Bluearbre Ltd. questioned Minister Andrei Spinu about the role of aviation in Moldova at the beginning of the Aviation Event – photos: CFG/or

Unlocking Moldova’s strategic location
Geographically, Chișinău Airport serves as a crucial link between East and West. Located in the heart of Eastern Europe, it offers strategic connectivity to several key cities and aims to strengthen business, tourism, cargo, and diplomatic connections. For instance, Iași (Romania) is less than a three-hour drive away, while Odessa in Ukraine can be reached by car in approximately three and a half hours. The Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, is about a seven-hour drive or an 18-hour train journey from Chișinău.
Moldova, as a country, is meticulously checking off its to-do list, aiming to comply with EU regulations in its pursuit of becoming the next member state among the existing bloc of 27. The advancements in the airport and its infrastructure represent significant steps toward this overarching master plan.

The Aviation Event Team organized the meeting in Chișinău. At the mic: presenter Andrew Charlton

Recent developments & plans
Because of the Russian assault on Ukraine, the region and country have experienced significant changes in the last two years. It has been crucial to ensure passenger safety, as emphasized by Andrei Spinu, Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development of the Republic of Moldova, who stated: “The sky is safe, and so is our market.” One notable achievement is the airport’s success in reinstating over 10 airlines to operations within the last 10 months. Airlines such as Wizz Air, LOT, Aegean, Air Baltic, Austrian, and Tarom are just a few on the list, marking important steps forward in the development of the region’s aviation sector.
Last year, the airport hosted around 2.8 million passengers. This year, it is estimated to accommodate approximately 3.4 million passengers, with ambitious plans to surpass 5 million passengers within the next 3-5 years. Yet, cargo terminal development is not currently the first priority. Cargo needs have not yet been fully addressed, with the majority of cargo facilities expected to be used for inbound rather than outbound shipments, particularly focusing on e-commerce. A comprehensive analysis has not yet been completed, but a pre-feasibility study will be conducted, including consultations regarding cargo expectations. This capacity expansion is essential to meet the original needs of the airport, as stated by Andrei Spînu:
“The IFC (part of the World Bank Group) will commence a feasibility study to explore infrastructure improvements. Currently, a pre-feasibility study has been completed, with the full feasibility study scheduled for completion by the end of the year. Subsequent steps will involve initiating the necessary actions.”

Updates on Ukraine and Odessa airport
Vladimir Semenchenko, Director of Odessa Airport, provided some insights on the situation of the affairs in the critically located airport in Odessa.
“We would need 140 days as of day zero to bring Odessa Airport back. We have a clear plan, and we know that we will manage it”.
Today, the primary focus is on maintaining the safety of the airport infrastructure. Employees conduct daily checks, including navigation and technical support. Initially, there will be some limitations, such as restrictions on night operations and refueling, as well as the absence of bridge operations, aimed at optimizing ground time.
Semenchenko also commented that the situation in the country is changing at a very fast pace, which makes it is hard to comment anything with regards to the re-activation plants, fabrics, as there are no clear answers to those kinds of questions. As reflected during the conference talks, it is worth noting that Moldova will not only be a gem of Eastern Europe to visit but also an important hub in the historic reconstruction of the Ukraine region. This conference marks just the beginning of the discussions in the aviation sector involving these regions. Moldova has already made significant progress, reaching 70% compliance with the EU regulations, and will continue to take necessary steps toward the master plan to become a part of the EU, as well as to provide the West with a reliable connection to the East.



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