Moscow-based training organization ViraZH has ordered 79 Skyhawks to re-equip its flight schools throughout western Russia. Under an agreement signed today at the JetExpo show at the Russian capital’s Vnukovo-3 Airport, Cessna will start supplying the piston singles in next year’s third quarter and by the time all the deliveries have been made ViraZH will be fielding one of the world’s largest Skyhawk fleets.
The Russian government has finalized a follow-on order for four Tupolev Tu-204-300s with VIP interiors. The Kremlin’s Special Air Detachment, the government flight department that transports Russia’s senior political leaders and high-ranking officials, already operates two of the type.
Ilyushin Finance Co. (IFC) is entering the business aviation market with plans to have some of the airliners it has on order for its lease portfolio outfitted with VIP interiors. For the most part, the aircraft to be offered for lease for private and corporate clients will be Russian-made airliners, such as the Tupolev Tu-204 and Antonov An-158, but IFC also has orders for new aircraft such as Sukhoi’s Superjet SSJ-100 and Irkut’s MC-21.
Boeing is set to deliver two more of its Boeing Business Jets to Russian clients later this year, taking the total number of the airliner-class aircraft in VIP service in the country to 23. Its total sales tally to date for Russia and the neighboring CIS countries numbers 25 aircraft, with Russia accounting for 19 of these.
Bell Helicopter has delivered the first of its new Bell 407GX aircraft in Russia. St Petersburg-based Helidrive, which is the U.S. manufacturer’s independent representative in northwest Russia, will be using the new single for private and charter use. Bell is displaying an example of the 407GX at this week’s JetExpo show in Moscow.
Deliveries of new business jets worldwide this year are likely to stay at the same level as last year, Boris Bychkov, CEO of Airclaims CIS, said yesterday in Moscow, where he spoke at the Business Aviation Forum 2013. Airclaims, a provider of aviation consulting, information and other aviation-related services, counted only 674 business aircraft delivered last year, compared with 1,290 in 2008, just before the global financial crisis hit. Russian event-organizer ATO Events held the meeting ahead of this week’s JetExpo show.
Russian business aviation services group Avcom is stepping up its efforts to improve its maintenance, repair and overhaul network by opening a new support base at Irkutsk in western Siberia. The Moscow-based company is now preparing to open other MRO operations in Khabarovsk (in the far east of Russia) and Omsk in the Urals region, as well as at Samara in the west of the vast country.
Russian customers continue to rank among the world’s most prolific uses of private air charter services, according to UK-based charter brokering group Hunt & Palmer. According to Tatiana Chernyavskaya, the company’s business development manager for Russia, they can be demanding clients eager to strike a good deal for charter but can also be big spenders, with a willingness to pay premium rates to fly long-haul to destinations such as the Seychelles and the Maldives.
Moscow’s Sheremetievo International Airport is challenging the dominance of Vnukovo-3 Airport as the Russian capital’s main gateway for business aviation. “The best services for business aviation are offered here,” said Sheremetievo general manager Mikhail Vasilenko on the eve of this week’s JetExpo show, which is being hosted by Vnukovo-3.
In 1996, Eurocopter became the first Western rotorcraft maker to enter the Russian market and it is testament to the sector’s great potential that the company is now facing a more concerted challenge in the country from rivals such as AgustaWestland and Bell Helicopters.
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