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Background

The decision of All-Russian Volunteer Association of the Aerial Fleet “Dobrolet” gave impetus to the establishment of aerostation (such name was used for airports before the mid 1930’s) in Orenburg. This decision aimed to develop and equip mail and passenger airline on the route Moscow-Tashkent having the length of 3000 kilometers within the state development plans for airlines.

In Volga region this route ran through Penza, Samara; in the southern Urals - through Orenburg and then to Aktyubinsk, Chelkar, Kazalinsk.

By agreement with Red Army Air Force, it was ordered to use one of the closest aerodromes of Orenburg military school as aerostation.

Rooms for passengers, pilots and administrative office were in the building of aerostation. Room for cafeteria was also equipped.

Special Commission of "Dobrolet" that arrived in Orenburg with the plane K-5 on August 8, 1930, gave a high appraisal of aerodrome state and the aerostation readiness for arrivals and departures of mail and passenger airliners.

On the morning of August 21, 1930 a six-passenger Kalinin K-7 flew for the first time from Moscow to Tashkent, opening this new route of large distance. At 1.45 p.m. this aircraft landed at the Orenburg aerodrome. Later this day came to be known as the Airport birthday.

July 19, 1931 the Presidium of the Orenburg Regional Executive Committee considered the issue of land allocation for the aerodrome and construction of Orenburg airport on it. It decided: "To grant the request of the Civil Air Fleet on the allocation of 225 hectares of land needed for the fleet site. Allocate this land in the district of Nezhinka village council, near the border of the kolkhoz “Red Posad”. They started the construction in 1932.

In 1932, a platform for temporary basing of three U-2 (Po-2) of Kuibyshev air squadron for special use with flight and technical staff was equipped in the northwestern part of the airport being built was equipped with.

By the beginning of navigation of 1933, transmit-receive radio center was equipped in a private house rented in the urban fringe. Transmit-receive radio center allowed maintaining a reliable two-way radio communications with neighboring and other airports on the route, providing information on the actual weather.

In July 1935, the 240th Kuibyshev air squadron for special use and local airlines placed the U-2 (Po-2) on the prepared site of Nezhinka airport for permanent stationing. Already in the first year of stationing, air unit started its flights for the protection of crops against locusts and other pests. According to the newspaper "Orenburg Commune", locusts on the area of 43 thousand hectares were killed in just one season of work.

In 1937 the terminal of the constructed airport was put in commission. Terminal building allowed to equip lounge for passengers, check-in sector and baggage claim, buffet. A room for preflight training of flight personnel – Navigator Room was also made here.

Following the plan of the complex construction of Nezhinka airport in 1938, the radio center was relocated from the urban fringe to a specially constructed building in the terminal area.

Throughout the Second World War the products of machine-engineering, metal working, steel works, chemical and light industry of Orenburg and region were sent from Nezhinka airport to the liberated cities, large industrial and agricultural centers.

In 1946, the Directorate General of Civil Air Fleet established 229th Chkalov Air Squadron with 20 aircraft in its fleet.

1951 became significant for Orenburg aviators. Nezhinka airport was almost constructed. Air squadron and airport services were relocated and began to work together in the compact-furnished airport complex. In the same year, four cottages for workers of air squadron in the airport area and one cottage as a hotel for passengers were put in commission. As a result, "Zhilgorodok" locality was added to the list of suburban settlements of Orenburg.

In 1956, the 195th Air Squadron was established by the order of the Directorate General of Civil Air Fleet, it was united with Chkalov Airport. In 1957, the name of Orenburg was returned to the city.

24 Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union based on Orenburg gas condensate field decided to build gas-condensate processing plant.

For Orenburg region, this event had a decisive influence - a new airport complex in Orenburg started to be constructed; it became a necessary air transport hub in the current situation.

Approval of the project assignment and financial estimates by the USSR Ministry of Civil Aviation in 1972 gave start to the construction.

1974 was particularly significant for Civil Aviation of Orenburg region because of the commissioning of the highly anticipated runway with hard pavement. According to the supporting strength and dimensional characteristics, the runway permitted the operation of all aircraft types belonging to the fleet of Aeroflot. This runway promised that Orenburg aviators soon would start working with the latest technology turbojets, and would be, finally, one among equals. In 1975 an Air Traffic Control Tower was commissioned, scheduled passenger flights started from the new airport on the aircraft An-24 and Tu-134, and since 1976 - on Tu-154.

On March 1, 1975 the 356th flight detachment for special use and local airlines was established by the order of the Chief of Volga Civil Aviation Directorate, it continued to be based in "Nezhinka" airport.

In December 1976 airport terminal with a capacity of 400 passengers per hour was commissioned. The interior of the terminal, complex facilities were able to satisfy the needs of all categories of passengers.

Due to the entire preparation program in October 1978, the runway was certified according to the first category of ICAO.

In 1980, 4-storey building of aircraft maintenance facility was commissioned.

In 1987, the 356th flight detachment for special use, which was at the airport "Nezhinka", was relocated to the "Central" Airport.

On May 15, 1991, the crew of the Orenburg united squadron operated its first international flight on the route Orenburg-Kiev-Ostrava on Tu-134A aircraft.

On October 8, 1992 Orenburg airport was granted an international status.

In 1993, Orenburg united air squadron was granted the status of state aviation enterprise.

In 1994 it became a member of ICAO and entered IATA.

On May 20, 2002 State Unitary Enterprise "Orenburg Airlines" was renamed to FSUE "Orenburg Airlines". The airline operated aircraft type AN-2, AN-24, Yak-40, Tu-134A, Tu-154, Tu-154 and helicopters Mi-2, Mi-8T (P) and Mi-8 MTV. Aircraft maintenance facility of the airline independently provides all types of maintenance for these aircraft types.

In 2005, the company developed a strategy for updating its fleet. Two Boeing 737-400 aircraft were leased from GECAS, the American company; these aircraft arrived in Orenburg airport in March and June 2006. Aircraft maintenance facility of the airline started enhanced study of the English language and aircraft construction in order to perform maintenance for the aircraft type Boeing 737. In October 2007 maintenance personnel successfully passed certification according to the requirements of PART - 145. In 2009, fleet of the enterprise contains 2 Boeings 737/400, 5 Boeings 737/500 and 6 Boeings 737/800.

Towards further development, on 30 May 2005 airport was approved for landing of aircraft type Boeing 737-300,400,500. On April 25, 2008 airport was approved for B 737-800, and on July 20, 2009 - Boeing 757-200.

The reconstruction of the terminal was started in 2009 and in 2010 it was completed. At the same time new special vehicles for airport needs were purchased: two tankers MAZ 6303 TZA-20, anti-icing machine “TEMPEST”, two baggage tractors JST-30, airtow SHOPF 160, a belt loader, autolift, road grader, wheel loader, passenger steps, flushing machine .

On June 3, 2010 was certified to accomodate Tu-204 (214).

On August 11, 2010 in accordance with the Presidential Decree as of 10.07.2008, No. 1052 and the RF Government Decree as of 21.11.2008 No. 873,  property complex of the airport was separated from the FSUE "Orenburg Airlines" and Federal State Unitary Enterprise "International airport "Orenburg " was registered as an entity. In accordance with the separation balance sheet 43 aircraft AN-2, 7 helicopters Mi-2, 2 Mi-8T, 1 Mi-8P and 2 Ka-226 were transferred into ownership of the airport. According to the  Charter of the air enterprise, it may perform aviation operations and commercial air transportation in addition to all types of airport activity.

On August 24, 2010 Federal State Unitary Enterprise "International airport “Orenburg” received the certificate of conformity No.FAVT A.01923. The main activities are:

- Aerodrome support;

- Servicing of passengers, handling of baggage, cargo and mail;

- Navigational support;

- Electrical technical and lighting flight support;

-  Aviation security;

- Search and rescue support;

- Quality control of aviation fuel and lubricants;

- Provision of fuel for air transportation;

- Engineering and aviation security.

On August 31, 2010 air operator certificate No. AR 101 005 for air works was granted.

November 17, 2010 air operator certificate No.539 granting the right to perform commercial air transportation was granted.

Air squadron of the FSUE “International airport “Orenburg” was formed on the base of the 2nd air detachment of the FSUE “Orenburg airlines”. Aircraft maintenance facility of the FSUE “International airport “Orenburg” was formed on the base of maintenance shop of special use of the FSUE “Orenburg airlines”.

On October 25, 2010 the airline obtained certificate of conformity with the right to maintain aircraft AN-2, AN-24, Yak-40 and Tu-134A, Tu-154, Tu-154, Mi-2, Mi-8T (D), MI- 8 MTV, Ka-226, to perform the control and reconstruction work on cover of the aircraft AN-2. Personnel of aircraft maintenance facility also perform ground handling for all types of foreign aircraft that may land at the airport. Leading technological and design bureau of AN-2 aircraft of the Russian Federation works in the aircraft maintenance facility.

According to the results of 2010, the Federal State Unitary Enterprise "International airport "Orenburg" became the winner as “The Best Airport in CIS” in the nomination "For activity and purposefulness in the development".

On May 10, 2011 the airport received an additional approval for Embraer-120 aircraft, An-148, the RRJ-95 and their modifications.

In 2011, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight Orenburg airport was named after Yuri Gagarin, the first cosmonaut of the planet.

In the same 2011 Federal State Unitary Enterprise "International airport "Orenburg" became a member of the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation and the Chamber of Commerce of the Orenburg region.

445 995 passengers were carried through Orenburg airport in 2011. According to the results of the year, 'Airport' Association of CIS Civil Aviation recognized the air enterprise as the winner in the nomination "The dynamically developing airport" in the competition "The best airport in CIS" in 2011.

In 2012, the chief of the company assigned a task to become familiar with a new type of helicopter, Robinson-44, and to replace obsolete helicopters Mi-2. The company team has successfully coped with the task, and after retraining of flight and engineering personnel, the scope of the operator's activities was expanded, 3 helicopters type Robinson-44 were purchased. They successfully patrol oil pipelines of JSC "Orenburgneft". Aircraft maintenance facility has also expanded the scope of its activities and started to perform all types of maintenance for this type of helicopter.

Fire-fighting vehicle, two aerodrome cleaning vehicles and bus enlarged the park of special-purpose vehicles. Platform for SITA Airport Connect CUTE system was implemented. Business hall of the terminal started to be used in the air border checkpoint "Orenburg" (Central). Heated hangar for parking of special transport was built.

In 2012 airport was additionally approved to accommodate aircraft type Аirbus-319,320,321 and their modifications.

On October 4, 2012 the Decree of the RF Government as of 14.09.2012 No. 784 transferred ownership of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise "International airport “Orenburg” to the Orenburg region and it was renamed into SUE of Orenburg region “International airport “Orenburg”.

464 628 passengers were carried through Orenburg airport in 2012. According to the results of the year, 'Airport' Association of CIS Civil Aviation recognized the air enterprise as the winner in the nomination "The dynamically developing airport" in the competition "The best airport in CIS" in 2012.

In December 2012, the Governor of the Orenburg Region Yury Berg assigned a task for the airline management team to become familiar with a new aircraft type L-410 UVP E-20, and to revive regional air transport. The Decree of the Russian Government No.1 «On approval of rules for granting subsidies from the federal budget to air transport organizations aimed to ensure the availability of domestic regional air transportation of passengers in the Volga Federal District in 2013" as of January 16, 2013 has accelerated this process.

The company team cope with the task honorably. 3 aircraft L-410 UVP E-20 manufactured by Czech company “Aircraft industries” with capacity of 17 passenger seats were leased meeting a tight schedule, two of them arrived at the Orenburg airport on February, 22 and one more - on March 7, 2013. After re-training of flight and technical staff, registration and certification of aircraft, the company expanded the scope of its operator’s activities by adding a new type of aircraft. Aircraft maintenance facility has expanded its operations to obtain the right to provide maintenance for this type of aircraft according to all types of routine maintenance. At the same time, works on certification of the air carrier in Transport Clearing House and registration of schedules and tariffs in Schedule & Tariffs Centre were performed, slots were requested and agreements with airports were concluded, ticket sales were opened.

On April 1, 2013 SUE of Orenburg region "Airport Orenburg" started its flights under the trade name "Orenburzhye airline" with the central schedule from Orenburg to the following cities: Samara, Ufa, Perm, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Orsk and from September 1, a flight to Saratov was added. In addition, two more aircraft L-410 were leased.

In June 2013, the airline became the member of Russian Association of Air Transport Operators.

The Airline obtained the permit for international flights, became registered in the ICAO (ORG code) and IATA (code O7). October 22, 2013 the airline received the certificate of registration as a foreign carrier, issued by the Civil Aviation Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan, started from November 18 on a flight on the route Orenburg – Aktobe started.

By the task of the Government of the Orenburg region and together with Municipality heads extensive preparatory work on the organization of air traffic on local airlines was carried out. Landing sites in regional settlements Svetly, Adamovka and Kvarkeno were equipped and registered. The contract with Buguruslan flight school of Сivil Aviation was concluded for ground handling of aircraft flying on the route Orenburg-Buguruslan-Orenburg. November 6, the company began scheduled passenger flights to these regional centers.

October 30, 2013 the airport received an additional admission to accommodate aircraft Boeing 737-700, Boeing 767-300 and their modifications.

November 8, 2013, 500 000th  passenger was transported through the airport from the beginning of the year. This is a record figure since 1991. On the same day, “Orenburzhye airline” transported 25 thousand passengers, starting from April 1.

In 2013, 573,345 passengers were transported through the airport in Orenburg. As a result, 'Airport' Association of CIS Civil Aviation recognized the air enterprise as the winner in the nomination "For the important contribution to the operations development" in the competition "The best airport in CIS" in 2013.

2014:

A new record in operations of Orenburg airport was achieved in 2014. For the first time in the last 20 years, 661,381 people were transported through the airport. For comparison, in 2001, this figure equaled 156,847 passengers. In recent years: In 2012, it was 464,628 people, in 2013 - 573,345 passengers.

On April 1, 2014 the Airline celebrated the first anniversary of regional flights. If in 2013, flights were carried out to 6 destinations: Orsk, Samara, Kazan, Ufa, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, three of them were flights with connections: Nizhny Novgorod, Perm, Tyumen, then in 2014 the route network increased up to 12 destinations.

Throughout 2014, “Orenburzhye airline” was expanding its route network and introducing new flights. Flights geography spread to many cities in Volga and Ural Federal Districts: Kazan, Ufa, Samara, Saratov, Kirov, Penza, Perm, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Ufa. Since the beginning of flights, aircraft fleet of the Airline increased to 5 aircraft.

Altogether since April 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014 “Orenburzhye airline” transported 97 705 passengers and carried out 9292 flights. Total flight hours on L-410 aircraft amounted to 16,539 hours. “Orenburzhye airline” is the leading airline for regional air travel in Volga Federal District.

In June 2014 “Orenburzhye airline” (trade name of the State Unitary Enterprise of Orenburg region “Airport Orenburg”, UE/ O7) and JSC "Orenburg airlines" (Orenair / R2) have signed code share agreement on the route Orenburg - Moscow - Orenburg and Orenburg - St. Petersburg - Orenburg.

September 29, 2014 Service center for maintenance of aircraft L 410 UVP-E20 of SUE "Orenburg Airport" was approved to provide all types of line and periodic maintenance.

In 2014:

- The enterprise won the regional competition for "The best organizational work with young personnel" in the nomination "For the high organizational level of highly qualified personnel."

- Orenburg Region Government awarded the company with a Diploma for active participation in the IV Festival - presentation of tourist resources of Volga Federal District "Open Volga Region" and the VIII Inter-regional exhibition "Sport. Recreation. Tourism. Healthy lifestyle".

- “Orenburzhye airline” (SUE of Orenburg region "Airport" Orenburg ") won National Aviation Award "Wings of Russia - 2014 ", it became the airline of the year in the category “Air transportation on regional routes”.

- SUE of Orenburg region “Airport “Orenburg” won in the nomination "The dynamically developing airport" in the competition "The best airport in CIS" in 2014, organized by the Association "Airport" of Civil Aviation.

Results of 2015:

In May 2015, SUE of Orenburg region "Airport" Orenburg" became the winner of the annual contest held by the Association "Airport" of Civil Aviation, in the category "Dynamically developing airport" (according to the results of work in 2014).

August 21, 2015 marks 85-anniversary of the airport "Orenburg". The following events were coincided with the anniversary: a contest of children's drawings, a solemn assembly, the opening of the Civil Aviation Museum.

The SUE of Orenburg region "Airport" Orenburg" in December 2015 was awarded with the Prize "Transport Security of Russia - 2015" in nomination "The best object of air transport infrastructure in transport safety."

According to the results of 2015, “Orenburzhye airline” is among the leading airlines that perform air operations under the RF Government Decree as of December 17, 2013 No. 1168 by the number of passengers (more than 2/3 passengers in the frame of the regional aviation development in Volga Federal District were transported by Orenburg company).

In April 2015 “Orenburzhye airline” won National Aviation Award "Wings of Russia - 2015", it became the airline of the year in the category “Air transportation on regional routes”.

By the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation as of March 8, 2015 No.115, employees of the airline Sergei Melekesov (Instructor Pilot of L-410) and Yury Petrov (Instructor Pilot of Mi-8) were given the honorary title "Honored Pilot of the Russian Federation."

By the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation as of 20 January 2015 No.25, an employee of the airline Vladimir Raskapatin (Aircraft maintenance technician for Airframe and Engines) was given the honorary title "Honored Transport Worker of the Russian Federation."

In 2015, about 630,000 Passengers were transported through the airport Orenburg.

In 2015, the SUE of Orenburg region "Airport" Orenburg" was awarded with the honorable second place in the nomination “The Best Airport 2015” (in the category “Airport of the Regional Importance”, up to 2 million passengers a year) within the 2nd national award “Air Gate of Russia”.

In 2015, "Airport" Association of CIS Civil Aviation recognized SUE of Orenburg region “Airport Orenburg"  as the winner in the nomination “For vigorous activity” in the contest for the title "The Best Airport in CIS - 2015."

July 27, 2016 the regional airline "Orenburzhye" (trade name of SUE of Orenburg region "Airport "Orenburg ") acquired the 8th new aircraft L-410 UVP E20 manufactured in the Czech republic.

August 3, 2016 "Orenburzhye airline" acquired the 9th new aircraft L-410. According to the aviation tradition, the aircraft was welcomed by a celebratory water arch.

On August 26, 2016 SUE of Orenburg region "Airport "Orenburg" solemnly welcomed the 10th aircraft type L-410. This aircraft that enlarged the fleet was the third board delivered in 2016 from «Aircraft Industries», Kunovice (Czech Republic) and leased by SUE of Orenburg region "Airport "Orenburg" and the State Transport Leasing Company.