Jetalliance forms venture with Aeroflot for Russian charter

 - May 5, 2010, 10:10 AM

Jetalliance Aviation Group and Aeroflot Russian Airlines have formed a joint-venture company called Jetalliance East to offer charter services within Russia. Yesterday, Cessna Aircraft and Jetalliance signed a leasing agreement for a new Citation CJ3 and a Sovereign for the venture. The two jets will be based at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport and will be operated under a Russian air operator’s certificate (AOC) that Jetalliance and Aeroflot have applied for.

“This is the first time that Citations will be operated commercially in Russia,” said Michael Holy, director of marketing for Jetalliance Aviation Group. The joint venture expects to obtain the AOC within weeks then immediately launch flight operations in Russia.

Jetalliance owns 49 percent of the joint venture company and Aeroflot 49 percent, with the remainder held by an undisclosed Russian entity. “This is going to open new markets,” said Holy.

While many charters are flown into and out of Russia, there is little availability of internal city-pair charter flying in Western business jets in Russia, he added. The two Citations will be perfect for short- and medium-range trips in Russia. There is plenty of opportunity for business jet charter within Russia, he said, and Aeroflot’s experience and reputation will help drive the joint venture effort.

Jetalliance East will add more jets as the charter business in Russia grows, but in a slow, steady fashion. The company hopes to open a Part 145 maintenance facility at Sheremetyevo so that Russia-based jets can be serviced in-country. Jetalliance’s Citation service center in Vienna will be used to maintain the Russian Citations until the Moscow facility can be opened, he said.

Jetalliance is a Cessna sales representative for 18 countries, including Russia, and it has 15 charter aircraft based in Europe. “We have a long relationship with Cessna,” Holy said. Russian charter customers who like the Jetalliance East charter service will be good prospects to buy jets someday, he added.