Demanding Russian Clients Continue to Boost Charter Demand
Russian customers continue to rank among the world’s most prolific uses of private air charter services, according to UK-based charter brokering group Hunt & Palmer. According to Tatiana Chernyavskaya, the company’s business development manager for Russia, they can be demanding clients eager to strike a good deal for charter but can also be big spenders, with a willingness to pay premium rates to fly long-haul to destinations such as the Seychelles and the Maldives. She told AIN that Russian travelers also have a preference for using Western operators, even to the extent of specifying that cabin crew should not be Russian speakers so as to protect the confidentiality of their in-flight conversations. Strong charter demand from Russians–and especially those with homes outside Russia–has resulted in a proliferation in the number of charter brokers. But, according to Chernyavskaya, most clients still prefer to deal with the more established brokers and especially those with strong resources in the West. “We check everything for our customers,” she explained. “We check that the AOC [air operator certificate] is valid, we check that the particular aircraft to be booked is authorized to make the flight and we won’t book an aircraft that isn’t safe or use an operator with a bad record.” A fairly typical Russian charter client these days is a businessman who commutes to and from Moscow after spending weekends with his family in London. “Generally Russians want a quick response and they always want operators to compete on price, and they can be very demanding about service standards, but eventually do become quite loyal,” concluded Chernyavskaya.