The Moscow Region administration is planning to develop local helicopter infrastructure to match that of West European capitals, Transport Minister Alexander Zaytsev said shortly before JetExpo 2014. According to him, while helicopter services are certainly better developed in and around Greater Moscow than elsewhere in Russia, they are still lagging far behind the areas around Paris and London – not so much in the fleet size as in the frequency of operations.
According to a survey conducted by Zaytsev’s ministry, there are around 250 helicopters in Moscow region and the figure is set to reach 500 by the year 2020. For comparison, 420 helicopters are registered in Greater Paris and 631 in Greater London.
The difference in the number of publicly accessible helipads is more dramatic. There are 110 of them around Paris, 210 around London and only 29 across Moscow Region (in addition to 31 restricted-access sites). The most stunning disparity, however, is in the frequency of rotorcraft operations. Greater Paris gets about 20,000 helicopter movements per year, while Greater London gets 24,000. In Moscow Region, there are only about 1,700 helicopter takeoffs and landings every year.
Commenting on these findings, Zaytsev said that Russian citizens have not yet gotten used to the idea of helicopter as a means of transportation: “It is not about the number of helicopters but rather about the demand for rotorcraft services and a tradition of using them for passenger services.”
To redress this imbalance, the Moscow Region administration has instructed the administrations of regional population centers to develop local helicopter infrastructure. A town with a population of 50,000 or more should have at least two helipads; smaller settlements have to build one or two each, while large villages may have just one. Zaytsev did not specify how many helipads would have to be built overall.