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Russia poised on the brink of major business aviation growth
The number of business jets in Russia could grow massively to around 1,700 by 2030, according to a report commissioned by the JetExpo show in Moscow.

The number of business jets in Russia could grow massively to around 1,700 by 2030, according to a report commissioned by the JetExpo show in Moscow.

Modest growth in the fleet is continuing despite world economic concerns and global operations are playing their part, as exemplified by the announcement that Gama Aviation has added two further aircraft management contracts, a Bombardier Challenger 850 and a Boeing BBJ2, to its Russia-based portfolio.

The company's worldwide portfolio now exceeds 80 aircraft and includes a number of Boeing, Bombardier, Falcon and Gulfstream aircraft based in Moscow.

"We have been supporting the needs of our Russian clients for over 15 years," says Tom Wells, general manager of Gama Aviation. "Our clients respect our knowledge of the Russian market, our hands-on experience of all major business aircraft types and the global coverage of Gama's operations. I am proud that the Gama team is able to deliver to Russia's continuously growing business aviation community our tailored solutions in a safe, service-driven and cost-efficient manner."

With nearly 30 years of experience in Europe, USA, the Middle East, and from this year Asia, Gama offers its clients a wide range of aircraft management, charter and maintenance services. It was one of the first business aviation service providers to support Russian customers in the 1990s and says that the market today remains key to its continued development.

The company exhibited at the JetExpo show in Moscow, where organisers revealed the results of a market review. This showed that the most popular aircraft in Russia currently are the Legacy 600, Challenger 300 and Challenger 604/605. The report also revealed that to order a vip charter can be cheaper than flying first class in Russia.

There are 158 business jets registered in Russia according to official data; 83 per cent of these aircraft are owned by companies operating business and charter flights as well as corporations which operate them for their own needs. Seventeen per cent are managed by operators on behalf of private owners.

The report claims that larger corporations (such as Gazprom, Norilsk Nickel, Severstal) usually purchase larger aircraft like the Falcon 900 or Gulfstream 450/550. These jets often operate flights in accordance with companies' top management business schedules. Russian businessmen tend to use jets such as Citations, which are more economical, while private owners prefer to purchase aircraft such as the Legacy 600 and use it mostly for personal travel, the report says.

Most business traffic is concentrated in the European part of Russia with more than 63 per cent of business traffic at the Moscow airports. About 23 per cent of business flights are operated to St Petersburg.

Vip charters are becoming more popular with Russian business travellers. An average price of business charter is 40-45 per cent more expensive than a group flight in first class. However, when a company is ordering a short distance charter flight with a VLJ class aircraft for a group of six to eight people, it can be cheaper than to buy first class tickets for the same number of passengers on a regular flight.

The report estimates that 525 business jets will be purchased in Russia and the CIS by 2020, and 1,016 aircraft in the period from 2021 to 2030.