Relocants and large businesses that have left the country rent private jets from Russian aviation brokers, SV Charter told Kommersant FM. This is how clients are trying to circumvent EU sanctions that prohibit the charter of business jets to Russian citizens. At the same time, flying to Europe from Moscow has become less common, and the issue is not even a question of price: over the past year, the geography of private air transportation routes has changed significantly. The Middle East and Asian countries appeared on the map. How much does it cost to fly on a private jet? And who are the customers? Aelita Kurmukova found out.
The business aviation market is recovering, growth for 2023 worldwide is 3%. Private jets took 5.1 million flights last year, 90% of which were in North America and Europe. But Russia in the European Wings X ranking dropped from 6th to 13th place in two years.
Those who wanted to fly away, others began to save money and switched to regular flights. But the clients still remain and have become much younger: bloggers and IT specialists now fly on private jets, said Sofia Turysheva, sales director of Leading Charter Technologies: “Income has become more related to the Internet, IT, and cryptocurrencies. Clients are often between 20-30 years old.
If we talk about destinations, the United Arab Emirates and Maldives are still in the top. A separate trend for 2023 is Sochi.
Many bought houses there, some are under sanctions. The Moscow-Sochi flight will cost on average 4-5 million rubles.”
And this is the price for a one-way flight. Moreover, even if the client stays, he still pays for the flight of the aircraft. So the Moscow-Sochi-Moscow route for the weekend will cost from 7 million rubles, including waiting for the crew. In general, businessmen have now begun to actively fly within the country: to cities with a population of over a million, to Siberia, and often around the Moscow region. And then a helicopter will come. But the shorter the route, the more expensive the flight hour, clarifies Denis Shankin, a representative of the Heliports of Russia Group of Companies:
“Customers fly to their enterprises, which are located in the Moscow region. The helicopter’s flight range is about 500 km one way. You can fly to any enterprise or holiday home.
Flight hour starts from 60 thousand rubles. in the case of the simplest Robinson R44 helicopter, designed for three passengers, and can reach 200 thousand rubles. for a seven- to eight-seater car.”
And almost a third of orders in the Moscow region, Mr. Shankin adds, today come from businessmen from the Middle East. They rent three or four helicopters at a time and travel with their wives and support staff. The average bill is approaching 1 million rubles. In addition to Sochi, the top domestic requests also include St. Petersburg: you can get there faster than on the Sapsan, but for 3.5 million rubles. one day from Moscow.
But on foreign routes the price lists are completely different. Previously, it was possible to fly to Paris from Moscow in 3.5 hours, now the flight will take 9. To the transfer hubs, the bill is in rubles, then the change of plane and prices are already in euros, adds JETVIP Business Development Director Maxim Manaenkov: “You can fly to Europe via Baku or Istanbul, checks – from 6 million rubles. up to 8 million rubles And from Istanbul, for example, to Switzerland you can fly for either €30 thousand or €70 thousand, depending on the size of the plane.
There are a number of countries that simply more strictly regulate arrivals of Russians, in particular France. Italy and Germany are starting to find fault with them.
Because of sanctions, they do not want the flight customer to be a Russian citizen or a Russian legal entity. Moreover, the story with dual citizenship does not work either. As a result, the following option is used: among the passengers there is a foreigner with a European passport. Renters of business jets have acquired a huge number of foreign friends and acquaintances who are not averse to flying somewhere at the client’s expense.”
The customer of a business jet for Russians can also be a flight attendant with European citizenship, adds Mr. Manaenkov. The price for the service is €2.5-€3 thousand. And European aviation authorities often turn a blind eye to the Russian passports of guests. Apparently, for the same reason, relocants who order planes through Russian brokers are also trying to circumvent the sanctions, notes SV Charter Development Director Sergey Vekhov:
“Even in a passport, for example, from Israel, like that of Anatoly Chubais, the place of birth is still indicated. There are problems with this too. Russian businessmen who have now settled in other countries have often changed their citizenship, but continue to use our services: they fly to Niagara Falls, on safari to South Africa or to the islands in the Pacific Ocean. We are not physically there, but we provide them with service.”
Those who stayed in their homeland and do business with new partners are now flying business jets to Asia. 70% of orders come from China, airline brokers share. A Moscow-Beijing flight costs an average of 16 million rubles, and more often these are for corporate clients.
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