Russia’s Avcom (Booth 2117) reports a 50 to 70 percent monthly increase in business for its Jet Travel Club (JTC), which was launched in April 2012. The club’s three Cessna CitationJets are now demonstrating monthly utilization rate of 55 flight hours each. A typical operation lasts one to three days and sees two to three business travelers flying domestic routes.
The JTC program allows a member to use the club’s aircraft for private travel inside Russia on terms similar to car rentals. Avcom flight crews are available for JTC aircraft operations, but club members can use their own pilots provide they come with proper licenses and training.
The club’s Cessnas are supported by three Hawker 700s, and these are also Russian-registered. Thus, they are beyond suspicion of “grey charter” services (still flourishing in the country) and benefit from lower ATC charges, airport rates and fuel prices available for aircraft with Russian RA registration.
Three membership cards are available, giving one- or three-month or yearly access to the JTC fleet. Although the number of Gold and Platinum card holders has been increasing, single- use cards remain most popular.
JTC members generally have several businesses around Russia or need to travel to various destinations ill-served by airlines. The JTC program is meant to give those travelers greater freedom and save time and money. A club member can pay airport fees (fuel, handling, parking, etc.) himself for better cost transparency. JTC anaging director Evgeny Bakhtin said that a club member’s expenses for CitationJet operations are similar to three business-class airline fares on up to 1,000-nm domestic trips.
The club’s technology and service standards allow its aircraft to start taxiing within a minute of boarding; total ground handling time is limited to five minutes, measured from the moment the JTC member enters the Avcom-D FBO at Moscow-Domodedovo airport. This results in considerable savings of time and airport- and airline- related risks. Bakhtin said the biggest limiting factor for Russian business aviation development is insufficient airport infrastructure and inflated fares in small airports, often for poor quality services.