Heavy helicopters currently account for 76% of the Russian-registered rotorcraft fleet. This category is mostly represented by various modifications of the Mil Mi-8 family (1,192 airframes). But, according to Russia’s state aviation research institute GosNII GA, out of 355 new helicopters newly registered in the country over the past five years 314 were the light and medium rotorcraft. 287 of them were imported.
The Russian light and medium helicopter fleet grew by 166.8% over the same period, against just 3.2% for heavy helicopters. There is an obvious trend towards an increase in the share of light and medium helicopters operated in Russia. The oil and gas sector remains the largest customer for helicopter services in Russia, and heavy aircraft are in particular demand there. However, the country’s medevac market has recently been growing actively. There is also increased demand for other applications best served by light and medium helicopters. Such aircraft are becoming increasingly more popular not only with private owners and small operators but also with government agencies like the Emergencies and Interior ministries, as well as major commercial carriers such as UTair Aviation and Gazpromavia.