EBACE: Jetalliance poised to become Russian trailblazer

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Jetalliance is hoping to complete its 49% acquisition of Aeroflot Russian Airlines business aviation subsidiary Aeroflot Plus this month.

The agreement will pave the way for the Austrian business aviation services provider to become the first Western company to operate commercially within its core market of Russia. Aeroflot Plus will be renamed Jetalliance East.

Speaking at the show, Jetalliance marketing director Michael Holy said a key aim of the joint venture - in which Aeroflot has an equal share and 2% is held privately - is to open up the domestic charter market within Russia.

"We want to develop the local market and become a leading business aviation player here by providing turnkey services for our customers. These will include aircraft charter, management, finance, sales and maintenance," said Holy.

The relationship with 80-year-old Russian flag carrier Aeroflot is critical to Jetalliance's growth in the region given its established brand, reputation, national coverage and expertise, he added.

Two of Jetalliance's business jets - a Cessna Citation CJ3 and a Sovereign - will be based at Moscow Sheremetyevo airport and will be operated under a Russian aircraft operator's certificate.

Olga Guerassina, an adviser with Jetalliance East, said while there are a number of privately owned Western-built aircraft in Russia, Jetalliance will be the first non-Russian company to operate Western-manufactured types commercially on a Russian air operator's certificate.

Jetalliance East will continue to operate its fleet of Tupolev Tu-134s and Yakovlev Yak-42 as they service most of the former Soviet Union countries, said Guerassina.

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