The decision to build a new airport for Norilsk was taken by the USSR Ministers Council in 1959. However, the construction began in the early 1960s.
In 1961, the city executive committee allocated land near the Alykel station for the construction of the ‘object No. 1305’ – this is how the future airport was called for secrecy. In the same year, the 37th airfield construction regiment of military unit No. 21004 began work.
In the summer of 1964, Nikita Hrushchev was going to visit Norilsk. This served as a powerful impetus to accelerate the construction of a permanent airfield in Alykel.
At the construction stage, in the first orders, the Norilsk airport was officially called Alykel. But already in the year of its opening, in 1965, another name appeared in the documents – the Norilsk airfield (Alykel station). In newspaper articles of the Soviet period, both names were used equally.
The name Alykel, according to one version, comes from the Dolgan ‘alyy-kuel’ – ‘swampy lakes’, ‘swampy valley’.
In 1964, air communication between the mainland and Alykel, which was put into temporary operation, began for the first time. But it was not easy to get from the airport to Norilsk at first: the highway had not yet been built, and the railway line from the Alykel station to the airfield itself had not yet been laid. Passengers first had to get to the port on several passes: by rail to the Alykel station, and then by road they were taken to the airport.
In previous publications of the History Spot photo project we told that in the Talnah region it was once planned to build another village – with the name Taimyr, and the plane from Norilsk to Krasnoyarsk used to fly for six hours.
Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive