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Light in Au­gust

AU­GUST IS THE BUSIEST SEA­SON

for hemi­sphere, in­ter­na­tional ac­cordingair trav­elto the in In­ter­na­tion­althe north­ern Air

Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion, and the new ter­mi­nal at

Pulkovo In­ter­na­tional Air­port in St. Peters­burg,

Rus­sia, which opened in Fe­bru­ary 2014, is once

again ready to meet the de­mand—such as it is.

For years Rus­sia’s pas­sen­ger num­bers

were steadily in­creas­ing—be­tween 2010

and 2014, the coun­try re­ceived eight mil­lion

more vis­i­tors—but re­cent de­vel­op­ments,

in­clud­ing a slump in oil prices, a de­clin­ing

ru­ble, and in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions, are tak­ing

their toll. Fewer Rus­sians are trav­el­ing abroad

to pop­u­lar get­away spots like Turkey and

Cyprus, and due to po­lit­i­cal ten­sions, fewer

Euro­peans—tra­di­tion­ally the largest con­tin

gent of tourists in Rus­sia—are vis­it­ing. Global

air­lines, in­clud­ing Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific

and Ger­many’s Lufthansa, have slashed the

num­ber and fre­quency of flights to Rus­sia.

Rus­sian air­lines are re­tir­ing old air­planes and

de­fer­ring de­liv­er­ies of new ones.

For the Rus­sian tourism busi­ness, there

are glim­mers of hope: More Asians are vis

it­ing, par­tic­u­larly from China, South Korea,

and Ja­pan, and do­mes­tic travel—rus­sians

trav­el­ing within Rus­sia— is way up. Many will

in­clude St. Peters­burg on their itin­er­ar­ies and

will pass through the new ter­mi­nal, which is

it­self some­thing to see. The faceted ceil­ing,

com­posed of metal pan­els and nar­row sky

lights, spans more than 500,000 square feet.

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