The Russian business aviation industry is steadily recovering after the sharp drop in the first half of the year caused by sanctions and the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine, according to some leading local experts in the field of business aviation and Russian media reports.
Russian Business Aviation Association data cites that the overall business aviation fleet of Russia at the beginning of 2022 was about 500 jets, of which up to 20 percent were leased. Due to the sanctions, most of the leased aircraft were returned, while the remaining airdraft were re-registered within the country. That allowed most of the business jet fleet to remain in Russia.
Alexei Butrimov, general director of BJet, one of Russia’s leading business aviation operators, told local media that business aviation has overcome a critical period and is steadily recovering. According to Butrimov, business jet flight activity has about doubled. With a shortage of modern private aircraft in Russia, the demand for business aviation services has increased significantly. Many local customers, despite the crisis, are ready to pay more for their business jet flights.
As most Western countries, including the U.S. and Canada, remain closed to Russians and their jet, business flights from the country mainly have involved operations to Turkey, the UAE, Seychelles, Maldives, and Vietnam, among others. Moreover, there is also growing demand for registration of business jets in Russia, which, according to analysts, could be considered a sign of the industry’s recovery.
As imports of business jets in Russia are currently limited, hopes of the industry are put on the design of the first “Russian” business jet. To that end, some efforts are underway. For example, Ruselectronics is working on the replacement of American electronic communication components for domestic aircraft that could be used in the building of the first Russian jet. Still, most likely, the initial assembly of Russia’s business aircraft will be carried out on the basis of domestic projects with the help of Chinese components.