The Russian government is to generate proposals from its transport and anti-monopoly ministries by June on how to restructure its airports, in a bid to slash ground operations charges on aircraft operators, in a move that could give a massive boost to business and general aviation users.

The move has been driven by the Russian United Business Aviation Association (RUBAA), which lobbies for the interests of business aviation in Russia.

The effect of this, if it happens, will be as big as that of the introduction of new rules for flight in uncontrolled airspace that were introduced in November, says RUBAA chairman Leonid Koshelev, who is also president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, a general aviation lobby group.

Koshelev claims that ground operations charges at Russian airports are monopolised and that as a result, users pay charges up to five times in Moscow airports what they would pay in Paris, for example.

The RUBAA wants a US-style system, where all airports have to have competition for services.

The transport ministry says it will state its position on the proposed new bill in the designated period after it officially receives it.

The government is also working with RUBAA on new certification rules for small commercial aviation operators under Russian FAP 11, analogous to EU-Ops 1.

"We hope that in three to six months those will be in place," Koshelev says.

Russia may also soon sign up to the Istanbul Convention on temporary admission rules for aircraft, which would obviate foreign aircraft entering Russia from undergoing time-consuming and bureaucratic customs procedures, Koshelev says.

Business aviation has grown rapidly in Russia in the past decade, but remains hamstrung by a lack of suitable aircraft registration rules, and a host of other legacy Soviet-era legislation that is now obsolete.

Koshelev says Russia still lacks an agency with overall responsibility for flight safety, and needs to completely overhaul the state structures responsible for aviation matters.

"What we are telling the government is that it doesn't matter whether it's one agency or three, what matters is motivation. These people have to be paid properly. An agency for flight safety is a must under the Chicago Convention," he adds.

Source: Flight International