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17 Sep, 2010 13:45

Business aviation expo puts Russian market potential in spotlight

Moscow Vnukovo-3 airport and Crocus Expo are hosting the Russian International Business Aviation exhibition, with experts saying the industry is recovering and has huge growth potential.

It's the fifth time the event has been held, and it's bringing in aircraft makers, charter companies, and enthusiasts from around the world. This years event is taking lace against the backdrop of a slow demand rebound from the global financial crisis.

Bill Sentilles, Senior Field Represenative at Hawker Beechcraft, says the industry is recovering from the economic downturn.

“We're beginning to see indications of a recovery. Our production demand is increasing.
We're seeing more demand outside of the U.S. right now with the U.S. slowly starting to catch up behind it.”

Russia's business aviation market started picking up about a decade ago, with the global financial crisis having less impact domestically than elsewhere. The local industry faces a constant battle with bureaucracy over registration – with domestic routes reserved for locally registered planes.

Although most of the aircraft on the ramp at Moscow's leading business aviation terminal have call numbers that start with the letter N – indicating US registration – there is only one U.S. charter company operating in the country. But Michael Yudelson, President at JetFlite Europe, says the market has room for more.

“98% of the charter companies are European. The rest are Russian charter companies, and then there is us. We operate 14 aircraft, many of our colleagues see problems here – they think it's the iron curtain – we know it's not.”

Industry players say easing bureaucratic restrictions and developing airport infrastructure is the key to welcoming more companies and more passengers to the skies. And with the prospect of major growth ahead the business aviation market is likely to keep flying high.