INTERVIEW: AviaTIS expansion plans include large-cabin business jets
In the spring of 2017, a new player emerged on the Russian business aviation market. AviaTIS (Aviation Technologies, Investment & Service) received its commercial air operator’s certificate (AOC). CEO Yuriy Yevdokimov told Russian Aviation Insider about the company’s current activities and plans for the future.
— Mr. Yevdokimov, AviaTIS obtained its commercial AOC in April this year. Previously, you had operated under a general aviation license. What made you decide to expand your business?
— Our ambition is to become a competitive operator on the business aviation market, so we continue to grow. A commercial AOC was essential to launching revenue services. As you know, a general aviation company cannot charge for its services; it can only operate flights in the interest of the aircraft’s owner. We are interested in operating commercial flights.
— When did you launch commercial services, and what types of aircraft do you use?
— We started immediately after receiving the AOC, on May 3, 2017. Until then we had operated aircraft on behalf of their owners, as a GA company. We currently have two AgustaWestland AW139s (built in 2012 and 2013), two AW109SPs, two Airbus Helicopters EC155s, and a Mil Mi-8MTV-1. All these rotorcraft have VIP cabins and are as comfortable as business jets.
— All your aircraft are registered in Russia. What are the advantages of this?
— Russian registration offers a number of significant advantages. It gives us the confidence that our crew training system complies with both the Russian and international requirements, and that maintenance operations are performed properly in terms of quality and time. Besides, an RA- registration prefix on the helicopter’s tail means you can fly anywhere in Russia without any restrictions or delays, which translates to tangible savings on the operations side.
— Where are your aircraft based?
— We now base our helicopters at three airports: Moscow’s Sheremetyevo, Anapa, and Abakan. We will also start basing aircraft at St. Petersburg shortly, after all the formalities have been finalized. But we also operate from other airports and helipads, depending on our customers’ requirements.
— At Sheremetyevo, do your passengers pass through Business Terminal A?
— That is correct, at Sheremetyevo our passengers are served at dedicated Terminal A. At other airports and destinations, it depends on the local arrangements. We strive to provide our passengers with maximum comfort, impeccable service, exceptional security and confidentiality wherever they fly.
— How does AviaTIS maintain its rotorcraft?
— Our company holds a FAP-285 certificate, under which we can perform line maintenance on a number of helicopter types. This is taken care of by our qualified engineering and technical staff. At the moment we service AS350s in-house, and will add AW139 and EC155 capability shortly. We also have cooperation agreements with certified service centers in Russia and abroad.
— AviaTIS is a new commercial helicopter operator. How do you estimate the existing demand for helicopter services in Russia?
— At the moment, demand for premium helicopter services is stable and trending upward. There are not that many companies working in this segment, so we forecast certain growth in our operations.
The vast majority of helicopter charter flights available on the market are performed by GA companies, so a commercial airline has certain benefits in terms of operational safety and access to higher-quality airport infrastructure.
Aircraft owners can also reduce their operating costs by offering their aircraft for charter flights. I will emphasize that we mainly focus of managing and operating aircraft for our clients under our commercial AOC, so we look to attract new owners.
— What about your fleet expansion plans? What type of aircraft would you go for?
— We have serious fleet expansion plans for the near future, including with large-cabin business jets, which we will also be operating under our commercial AOC.
— What are your plans for the foreseeable future?
— As I mentioned, we are primarily aiming to involve more customers in our fleet management program. By letting us manage their aircraft our customers retain all the benefits of ownership, but they no longer have to worry about such things as compliance with the regulations, MRO, extensions of the airworthiness certificate, or personnel management. Also, as I have mentioned, we are going to add several aircraft to our fleet.
— Do you plan to obtain a license for helicopter operations other than passenger transportation?
— We do not have any plans to develop into that area, our priorities are aircraft management and premium passenger flights.
— What are your expectations of JetExpo 2017?
— JetExpo is certainly one of the most important events in the European world of business aviation. This is our first show; we would like to use this opportunity to showcase our services to the business aviation community and potential clients, and also to find new partners.
By Tatyana Volodina
Russian Aviation Insider
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