Alexander Ponomarenko was born on October 27, 1964 in Crimea, Belogorsk City, Ukrainian SSR.
Ponomarenko has worked for much of his career with fellow Billionaire Alexander Skorobogatko. In the late 1980s, Ponomarenko, together with Skorobogatko, founded an enterprise in the Crimea that specialised in perfume products and building materials.
From 1983 to 1985, Ponomarenko served in airborne divisions of the armed forces. By the end of the 1980s, he was the junior boxing champion of Ukraine.
Following the financial crisis in 1998, the partners started buying up shares in cargo companies that eventually combined to form Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NCSP), which became the largest sea port in Russia.
In 2004, Ponomarenko was appointed the Chairman of NCSP. In 2007, NCSP had its initial public offering, listing 19.3% of total equity on the London Stock Exchange for US$955 million. At the beginning of 2011, the majority stake of NCSP was sold to Summa Capital and Transneft for US$2.5 billion.
In 2011, Ponomarenko purchased a "palace allegedly constructed for the private benefit of Russian President Vladimir Putin", now known as Putin's Palace. At the time of the purchase, Ponomarenko indicated that he had picked the palace up for "a song" and that the value of the complex may be as much as $350 million when the project was complete.
In 2013, the above trust acting in the interests of the families of Ponomarenko and Skorobogatko established TPS Avia Holding to invest in infrastructure development at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. In 2013, the company won a bid to develop a new cargo terminal at the airport. Ponomarenko joined the Board of Directors of JSC Sheremetyevo International Airport in 2015 and was elected its Chairman in 2016.
In 2016, TPS Avia secured 68% stake in Sheremetyevo Airport and committed to invest US$840 million to upgrade and expand the airport's infrastructure.
In 2017, it was reported in The Guardian that Ponomarenko had acquired Cypriot citizenship in 2016 through a "Golden visa" scheme.