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MOSCOW AIRPORT - MOSCOW RUSSIA AIRPORT

Moscow AirportMoscow Airport - Sheremetyevo II is the international airport that services Moscow. When it was built during the Cold War, it was an oasis of hope, freedom, and western cigarettes. Unlike most things, which are on a grand scale in Russia, Sheremetyevo II is a relatively small airport, surrounded by miles and miles of forests. Like the rest of Moscow, it has a ton of traffic. The older terminal Sheremetyevo I shares two landing strips with the new terminal, Sheremtyevo II. Although Moscow has grown substantially, Sheremetyevo has not been renovated or expanded since the early 1980's.

Everybody curses Sheremetyevo II these days. However good or bad, Sheremetyevo II Airport is where most people arrive. Sourpuss border guards oversee new arrivals into a poorly lit stairwell to an area that looks like a black hole. Tired travelers rush to be first in line of a mob waiting to go through airport control. You may have to wait in line an hour or more, all wile fighting for position and choking from the cigarette smoke. As you finally get into customs, it splits into red and green corridors differentiated by how many valuables you need to declare. Those who choose the green corridor may be waved through with no inspection at all. However, experienced travelers go though the Red corridor where their baggage may not need to get checked, but they will get their customs declaration form stamped. This will come in handy when one leaves the country, so the customs officials shouldn't give you a hard time.

The drive into the city from Sheremetyevo II Airport will take about an hour or two, depending upon traffic. Moscow is the one city that you should be met at the airport and only by a trusted driver. Travelers stranded alone should hire only "official" taxis from those in the main hall. Major hotels will send a car, and the airport novotel provides a shuttle service to the hotel. There is a public bus that will take you to the nearest metro station.

Domodyedovo Airport since it's renovation has attracted several international airlines and is now using it as the first serious alternative to Sheremetyevo II. Swissair and Sabena were the first air carriers to use the new terminal. More international airlines are considering the same move. Domdyedovo is conveniently linked by rail to Pavelstsky Staion in Moscow.

There are four domestic airports that surround Moscow. Vnukovo is located southwest of Moscow; Domodyedovo is to the south; Bikovo is to the east; and Sheremetyevo I is to the north. All are older airports with few creature comforts. Domodyedovo has been somewhat renovated.

 

MOSCOW RUSSIA