The crash of a chartered Yak-42 regional airliner on September 7 in Yaroslavl, Russia, that left 44 professional hockey players dead has prompted calls from authorities to take additional measures to encourage the country’s airlines to merge into bigger structures and replace aging Soviet airplanes.
Business aviation companies eager to tap Russian private and corporate wealth could be in luck here in Geneva this week because the country’s economy is bouncing back and Russians are once again shopping for aircraft. Russia’s economy is seeing growth rates as high as 10 percent–a figure that puts most of Western Europe in the shade.
Moscow’s JetExpo 2010 show last month provided evidence of strengthening demand for business aviation in the upper reaches of the Russian market. However, it is demand from the Russian government itself, rather than private companies or individuals, that seems to be leading this trend.
India agreed to buy 80 Mil Mi-17V-5 helicopters worth $1.2 billion during a visit to Delhi by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev early this month. These will replace 35-year old Mi-8 choppers the Indian Air Force currently flies. The deal includes weapons options and an offset obligation worth $405 million. Accompanying Medvedev were Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdukov and United Aircraft Corp. chief Alexei Fedorov.