Russia seeks end to monopoly on airport charges

The Russian government plans to draft proposals for new legislation by June on restructuring its airports, in a bid to slash ground operations charges on aircraft operators, which is likely to give a massive boost to business and general aviation users, according to a business aviation users’ group.

The move has been driven by the Russian United Business Aviation Association, 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 introduced last 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 monopolized, and 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 airport 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.

“We hope that in three to six months those will be in place,” Koshelev said.

Russia may soon also 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 last decade, but remains hamstrung by lack of suitable aircraft registration rules, and a host of other legacy Soviet-era legislation which is now obsolete.

MOSCOW, April 6 (RIA Novosti, Howard Gethin) 

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