Jet Aviation was early to see the Russian business aviation boom coming and so was one of the first Western companies to take the leap of faith needed to launch operations there. Its maintenance facility at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport is approaching its fifth anniversary and now is preparing to add a fifth business jet family to its portfolio.
Ian Ludlow, general director of Jet Aviation Moscow Vnukovo, told AIN that the Swiss-based group wants to start supporting Dasssault’s Falcon family of aircraft and before the end of 2012 will begin training mechanics and importing the necessary equipment. His engineering team already provides line and light maintenance for Bombardier (Learjet 60s and larger models), Gulfstream (G200s and above), Hawker 800 and 900 series jets and Embraer Legacys. “We would like to get into heavier maintenance too, but we need some launch customers for that,” he added.
Many of the aircraft supported by Jet Aviation’s 28-strong Vnukovo team are transiting through the Russian capital, but growing numbers of jets are based there. This group will be joined in December by a Bombardier Global 5000 that Jet Aviation is adding to its managed fleet under its Swiss air operators certificate. With its range of almost 4,900 nmi, the 10-passenger aircraft is expected to be popular with Russian charter clients, according to Claudio Peer, vice president of sales for aircraft charter and management.
Getting established to serve operators in Russia and the wider Commonwealth of Independent States has been far from straightforward at times. “Getting spares has been a real challenge [due mainly to Russia’s complex importation rules] and we have done a lot of work on this and now have a pretty good process set up involving customs agents and importers,” Ludlow explained. Jet Aviation also has made special arrangements with Bombardier and Embraer to keep consignments of parts in Moscow and now has around 700 line items in stock there.
According to Ludlow, the regulatory environment for business aviation in Russia has eased in recent years. A big step forward was achieved when Russian authorities harmonized their maintenance approval structure with that of the European Aviation Safety Agency. This allows service providers to operate in Russia under EASA Part 145 approvals.
“Now for aircraft that are not recognized [certificated] by Russia, the Russian authorities will put the [maintenance] endorsement in the mechanic’s license and the work goes under the EASA approval,” explained Ludlow. “It’s been a big change in the way approval of maintenance is approached.”
Having said that, Jet Aviation still cannot work on Russian-registered aircraft and it does not yet see the business case for getting Russian approval. In fact, many Russian-owned aircraft are still registered outside the country so there is no shortage of equipment for the company to support.
At this week’s JetExpo show in Moscow, Jet Aviation is introducing a new service to help operators to comply with the next phase of the European Union’s emissions trading scheme. Phase III of ETS will require all operators flying into or out of any airport within the EU to submit updated, detailed plans for monitoring their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and ensure that the registry accounts needed to pay for the necessary carbon credits are open in their assigned EU member state.
“This emissions trading system phase is going to make compliance even more demanding and time- consuming for aircraft operators,” says Matthias Gruber, manager, EU ETS Services. “Our turnkey compliance solution will help clients seamlessly meet these new requirements. It is particularly helpful to small operators.”