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Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport preparing to resume international flights in July

* Traffic could fall 66% this year -chairman
    * Full rebound in traffic levels could take a year -chairman

    By Gleb Stolyarov
    MOSCOW, June 4 (Reuters) - Sheremetyevo Airport, Russia's
busiest, is bracing for a 66% fall in traffic this year as it
plans to resume flights next month, its board chairman said, and
expects it to take about a year before a return to pre-crisis
    "We expect that the restoration of passenger traffic to
levels seen in 2019 will gradually occur over the course of a
year," Alexander Ponomarenko, who is also a co-owner of the
airport, told Reuters in an interview. 
    "We would like to believe that this will happen sooner."
    Ponomarenko said he expected passenger traffic to be around
17 million people if international flights resume in July.
    Moscow's Sheremetyevo, base of state airline Aeroflot
 AFLT.MM , handled 49.9 million passengers last year.
    Ponomarenko said revenue, which stood at 82.1 billion
roubles ($1.19 billion) in 2019, could fall to 32 billion this
    The airport has continued to fly domestically and to fly
repatriation flights for Russians and foreign citizens returning
home since Russia suspended international flights in March.
    Sheremetyevo's passenger traffic fell 96% in April and by
18% in the first quarter. 
    Ponomarenko said the airport, which had an investment plan
worth around $2.5 billion, has been forced to temporarily freeze
certain investments.  
    He said, however, that the planned reconstruction of its
first runway and the modernisation of its baggage handling
system would not been affected.
    Russia has reported 441,108 cases of the coronavirus and
5,384 deaths. 
    ($1 = 69.1300 roubles)

 (Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; editing by Jason Neely)
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