Japanese business jets to act as air taxis in Russia

Sky Light Emperor Aviation has one HondaJet on its balance sheet, which is operated commercially within Europe (Aim of Emperor)

The Aim of Emperor Group is to launch a business jet air taxi project in Russia in the second half of 2020. Flights will be operated by the specially-created Sky Light, which is currently in the process of obtaining its Russian Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC).

Russia’s State Transport Leasing Company (known by its Russian acronym GTLK) may become a financial partner in the project. On August 29, as part of the Moscow-hosted MAKS 2019 air show, Sky Light and GTLK signed a letter of intent on the purchase of up to three HondaJet Elite light business aircraft. These small four-seater jets, with a range of 2,661 km, may initially form the basis of the new operator’s fleet.

The agreement with GTLK could be turned into a firm contract by mutual agreement of the parties following a deeper discussion about the project, Anna Nazarova, head of PR at Aim of Emperor Group, told Russian Aviation Insider. According to Nazarova, air taxi is a new format for business aviation in the form of affordable, relatively short flights up to 1,900 km within Russia. “In fact, air taxi is entering a market where there are no competitors, even though the demand for such services has already been formed. Demand is facilitated by the trend of logistics costs optimisation, which has been observed in both commercial and business aviation in recent years,” Nazarova added.

HondaJet Elite is currently at the certification stage in Russia, Nazarova revealed. Honda Aircraft certification specialists have already visited the Russian Federation for consultations and Aim of Emperor expects that the business jet will be fully certified before the start of the air taxi project.

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