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Flying to Moscow

Corporate traffic to Moscow is up dramatically over recent years with local bizav services and facilities becoming progressively better.

Moscow-area entrepreneurs and businesses are acquiring Western-built business aircraft with escalating enthusiasm, local charter markets are doing brisk business and potential for air taxi networks is materializing quickly.

With 3 primary airports-DME (Domodedovo, Moscow, Russia), SVO (Sheremetyevo, Moscow) and VKO (Vnukovo, Moscow)-Moscow has become one of the world´s hottest corporate destinations.

While the operating environment is generally welcoming, costs remain high, parking can be limited and some operators are reportedly paying over $ 1 million per aircraft per year for scarce hangar accommodations at Moscow airports.

"The Moscow area is an ever changing phenomenon with all 3 airports relatively user friendly and doing a good job of handling, but strained to the limits, at times, as a result of high demand," says Universal Weather & Aviation Master Trip Support Specialist Phil Linebaugh.

"When operating to Moscow you´re looking at $ 3000- 5000 in costs, plus parking, per stop and you´ll face more restrictions than when operating to Europe. Moscow hotels can often sell out during conferences and sports events.

One BBJ crew could not find hotel accommodation recently and ended up sleeping on their aircraft. Another crew was faced with $ 1240-per-night crew rooms during a conference period in Moscow."

Moscow is no longer the bizav backwater it once was says Air Routing Ops Supervisor Matt Pahl. "It used to be rare to encounter a privately-owned Russian aircraft but now you´re seeing more and more of them.

Russia has become one of the OEMs´ biggest markets and these days more operators are choosing to register their aircraft in Russia rather than out of country." General aviation to Moscow is flourishing with the majority of corporate clientele choosing to operate to VKO General Aviation Terminal Vnukovo 3-one of the world´s largest GA facilities.

VKO handles nearly 70% of all business aviation traffic in Russia and reports a 50% increase in 2007 operations compared with the previous year. All VKO bizav traffic is handled at Vnukovo 3 with Vipport the sole operator for ground handling of business, private and government aviation.

DME, further from the center of Moscow than VKO but with good access to the city center, is very user friendly and also offers excellent services. International support providers (ISPs) usually discourage operators from using SVO due to airline traffic congestion.

"They´ll likely park you at a remote ramp at SVO and send passengers through customs in the terminal with everyone else," says Pahl. "This can take a long time and it´s a hassle." Moscow´s 3 airports currently handle about 80 business aircraft flights per day-a figure that exceeds European averages.

In recent years Russia-and particularly Moscow-has emerged as a highly dynamic business aviation market with corporate and private aircraft fast becoming a part of the inventory of tools used by successful entrepreneurs and companies.

According to the Russian Business Aviation Assn (RBAA) corporate flights to and from Moscow since 2002 have grown more than 30% annually. Much has changed in the former USSR since the days of communism.

Russian business tycoons are embracing benefits of business aviation and equipping themselves with the latest in modern Western-built business jets. Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault, Gulfstream and Hawker Beechcraft all report record sales in Russia these days.

During EBACE, in May, Cessna announced an order for 20 Citation Mustangs to Russian air taxi operator Dexter and Eclipse Aviation announced a new Eclipse 500 assembly facility at Ulyanovsk, Russia-the first outside the US.

While you´ll still see locally built Russian bizjets here and there-typically reconfigured Tupolev TU134s and Yakovlev YAK40s and 42s-such sightings are increasingly rare.

Read he full version of this article at www.propilotmag.com

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