Russian airlines are seeking to expand into the business aviation arena in an attempt to offset ever-declining passenger traffic, which has further been exacerbated by the coronavirus, according to several airline representatives. In fact, Russian air carrier Red Wings has confirmed it plans to start business aviation flights shortly.
According to a Red Wings spokesman, its initial business aviation flights will be conducted with Tu-204-100Vs, a medium-range airliner, converted for the “needs of business aviation.” The company has already received all the needed permissions and certificates for such flights, it said. Red Wings’ business aviation fleet will be based at Moscow Vnukovo International Airport.
Oleg Panteleev, the head of aviation consultancy AviaPort, told AIN that while the Tu-204 is not currently a high-demand business aircraft in Russia, it makes sense for Red Wings to use aircraft already in its fleet. “Red Wings has experience in operating the Tu-204, so the choice is quite logical,” he said.
Meanwhile, other Russian air carriers are also planning to follow suit, especially since many are predicting a significant decline in revenue this year due to the coronavirus and the current tensions of Russia with Turkey, the main destination for Russian tourists.