Russia's Dexter Air Taxi is expanding its service to the north of the country as it moves another step closer to establishing a pan-Russian low-cost air taxi operation.
The Moscow-based company began services in 2006 and now operates a fleet of eight Pilatus PC-12s - including four of the new-generation single-engined turboprops. A further 25 aircraft are on order - five PC-12NGs and 20 Cessna Citation Mustang very light jets that are due for delivery from 2011.
"We are flying 60h on each aircraft each month and hope to build the fleet to 13 aircraft by the end of the year," says Evgeny Andrachnikov, chairman of Dexter's parent company AMG.
© Dexter Air Taxi
This, he says will allow the company to place the aircraft at strategic bases throughout Russia, minimising empty legs. "We plan to build a network of taxi stations across the whole Russian territory," says Andrachnikov, to exploit the pent-up demand nationally for air taxi services.
In the north-east, Dexter will base one aircraft initially in Novyi Urengoi. "This is a prosperous area due to the gas industry there and we will offer the aircraft for charter," he says.
"Russia is the most suitable market for air taxi services as the infrastructure is so poor," Andrachnikov continues. "Around 60% of the country is not accessible by land transport and 90% of air traffic is generated through Moscow," he says.
It is also less costly to buy business jets. Andrachnikov says: "The decision to waive [import] tax on [non-Russian built] aircraft has saved us $1 million per aircraft."