Moscow FBO Avia Group opened a helipad at the Russian capital’s Sheremetievo International Airport today. The company, which operates Terminal A as a business aviation center, is responding to rising demand for helicopter transfers in and out of the airport, especially in view of the heavy road traffic in surrounding areas.
Addressing journalists at the helipad’s opening ceremony, Avia Group general director Mikhail Semenov called the move “a new step in the materialization of the group’s long-term strategy” to improve infrastructure at Sheremetievo. “With this and other steps we are increasing the spectrum of services available to our clients by giving them the possibility to combine various means of transportation so as to make more efficient use of their precious time and to increase their mobility.”
The helipad is located just 100 yards from Terminal A. Avia Group says it will work with an unspecified–yet limited–number of suitable rotorcraft operators with good safety records, qualified crew and experience to offer flights in and out of the airport. On the opening day an AgustaWestland A109 operated by RussAir made a landing at the helipad and flew off several minutes later. The clients are advised to use RussAir services or request charter bookings through Avia Group. According to the FBO, the standard price for a flight to or from Moscow city center is no more than $200–about three times more than a taxi.
No slots are required for helicopter movements at Sheremetievo, and they can be made on demand provided the operator has a handling contract with Avia Group. This flexibility became possible with completion of a comprehensive study done at the request of Avia Group by Aeronavigatsiya, the state-run agency responsible for planning air traffic in Russian airports. The agency has developed typical flight plans and guidance documents for rotorcraft crews flying in the airport zone so as to ensure safety and no overlap with the takeoff and landing operations of airplanes operating out of Sheremetievo.
This is the first such application in Russia and Semenov predicted that the new helipad will see approximately 10 to 15 flights each day.