Jet Aviation has become the first global business aviation services company to operate within the thriving Russian market having sealed an agreement with Vnukovo Invest to provide maintenance services from this month at Moscow's business aviation airport Vnukovo International.

If successful, Jet Aviation hopes to launch additional services at its Vnukovo 3 base - including aircraft management and charter - either as standalone ventures or partnerships.

"We will keep our eyes and our options open, but we aren't in a hurry to expand," says Jet Aviation chief executive Peter Edwards "First we must establish ourselves as good neighbours and good tenants."

Edwards says it has taken more than two years for Jet Aviation to get a foothold in the Russian market, during which time the Switzerland-headquartered company has evaluated other locations for its maintenance base including Domodedovo International.

He says: "The pressure to open a [quality] maintenance facility in Moscow came from the airframers and their customers who no longer wanted to take their aircraft to facilities outside Russia for maintenance work."

Vnukovo is an ideal base, Edwards says. As Moscow's busiest airport for business aviation it handles nearly 70% of all business aviation traffic in Russia. The airport also recently opened a dedicated fixed base operation.

Jet Aviation will initially provide line maintenance and aircraft-on-ground services from a hangar next to the FBO building. The company has also broken ground of a 3,000m2 (33,000ft2) hangar that should be open in the first quarter of 2008. Jet Aviation engineers will train Russian technicians at the site "in a combined effort to bring the competence level up", Edwards says.