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2 Aug, 2008 21:01

Moscow Government moves into air taxi market

The Moscow Government is launching traffic-beating helicopter taxis for as little as 60 dollars per person from next year. It's one of several projects on show at Russia's Domodedovo Airshow to make private flight more affordable.

In May Business Today revealed chartered helicopters will fly every half hour from Moscow Vnukovo Airport to the city's financial district from $US 120 a person next year. Now a Moscow government-owned company's pledged to halve that price with a subsidised service.

Konstantin Kleschchyov, Deputy CEO of Moscow Air Services says the focus is on businessmen.

“We're already subsidising inter-city flights as well as building regional airports. We've been set up to make Moscow businessmen’s' lives easier,” Kleschchyov says.

Experts say the demand and launch pads already exist, Eurocopter EC120s are the most likely a start model. The entry of the Moscow government will speed up the last hurdle – government permits required to fly across the capital.

The world's biggest airtaxi operator's in Moscow to push a global equivalent – part ownership of a Netjets business plane to fly internationally.

Mark Wilson, Director of Regulatory Affairs, NetJet Europe says the Moscow market is becoming increasingly important.

“We already have over 100 clients here out of 1,500 throughout continental Europe and we see it becoming of increasing importance to us. What we've done as Netjets is bring down the barriers of entry by the fractional ownership model, this ability to buy 1/16th of a jet rather than an entire jet is key to our business,” Wilson says.

Awful roads and vast distances are making the business aviation market in Russia grow 35% a year. More deals are expected at the national industry's biggest show JetExpo in September.