UTair targets helicopter growth

London
Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

Russian airline and rotorcraft operator UTair has unveiled ambitious growth plans including the aim of becoming the world's second largest helicopter operator.

"Active fleet development will allow us to become a leading Russian airline with youngest and most modern fleet in Russia by 2020," said UTair chief execuitve Andrey Martirosov at an investor day last month.

UTair's commercial aircraft and helicopter fleet accounts for 600 aircraft of different classes and types but the group will take delivery of 46 aircraft and 96 helicopters over the next three years.

UTair plans to strengthen its position in the leisure travel market by introducing more long-haul destinations, adapting UTair's route network to make best advantage of the capabilities of new aircraft and creating a full feature airport for low-cost carriers at Yermolino airport northeast of Kaluga.

In the helicopter market, Martirosov says the key objective remains to increase its market share in Russia and entering new, high-profit markets, notably offshore transportation for the oil and gas sector abroad. "That will allow to UTair to establish itself in the second position among the world's among the largest helicopter operators by 2014," said Martirosov.

According to Flightglobal's Ascend online database, UTair's rotorcraft orderbook includes AgustaWestland AW139s along with Eurocopter's AS350 and AS355. It is the largest customer for the in-development EC175, with an order for 15 helicopters, with a further 15 options. The group will also take delivery of 37 Mil Mi-8 helicopters through 2016.