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Chess master moves in

AAI keeps up with the weather

There is little doubt that Russia's occasionally chaotic aviation industry could benefit from the application of a fine strategic mind. It is about to get one.

World chess champion Gary Kasparov has now formally launched a consultancy, aimed at helping Western businesses to forge links in the East. Regenerating Russian aviation is high on the agenda.

The Kasparov Consultancy was born out of aviation. Early on, Kasparov had been invited to work on restructuring the arm of the old Aeroflot, which provided travel for Russian Presidential and Government officials. It has now been transformed into a stand-alone, albeit state-owned, company under the Rossiya banner.

Kasparov and his long-standing business manager, UK entrepreneur Andrew Page, were also involved in setting up Moscow Aviation International in 1993. The aim was to provide corporate-aircraft charter services to an emerging Russian business community.

As part of the development, a fixed-base operation is now close to being completed at Moscow's Vnukovo airfield to service the ten Western business-jets being flown in the country.

"I'm not a great specialist in aviation, but I was convinced you could make money in the industry," says Kasparov. The airline expertise came from a third partner, Peter Smith, who was a director of Air Europe. Smith points out that the charter business "...generated profits from its first day".

He believes that future potential abounds in Russia as the economy recovers and releases an "enormous pent-up demand for air travel". Smith suggests that, as the chaos subsides, there should be room for at least five major network carriers, together with regional feeders.

Even based on conservative estimates, there should also be demand for between 500 and 800 new airliners by the end of the decade. At least part of the demand will be filled by further joint ventures with the West, says Smith, adding that he has held talks on another possible re-engineing project.

"We've been through a period of courting for the last two years. Now, we're starting to see some serious business being done," says Smith. He could be right.

RUSSIAN AEROSPACE '95

Garry Kasparov will be guest speaker at the Russian Aerospace '95 forum being hosted by Flight International and Aviaexport in Moscow on 25-27 April. For further details, fax +44 (171) 490 3318.

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