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Russian Executives Spend Big on Luxury Planes

Published: August 28, 2007 (Issue # 1301)


MOSCOW Russian executives may spend $2.5 billion on business jets over the next two years, an aviation trade group said, prompting companies including Bombardier to chase contracts in a country with 60 billionaires.

It is just the beginning, Christophe Degoumois, Bombardier director for business aircraft sales in Russia and other former Soviet countries, said at the MAKS 2007 air show. Russia is Bombardiers largest European market, and the Montreal-based company says it is the top private jet purveyor in the country.

Frances Dassault Aviation and Brazils Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica are among the aerospace companies joining Bombardier in seeking business jet buyers at the biennial air show.

Wealthy Russian individuals and corporations have about 300 executive jets and will have about 100 more delivered by the end of 2008.

Russians bought executive planes valued at $1.5 billion in the last two years, triple the amount spent in the previous two years, Yevgeny Bakhtin, deputy head of the Russian Business Aviation Association, said in an interview last week. Of the $2.5 billion in spending expected by 2009, $1 billion is already contracted.

The most popular models are Bombardiers Global Express, Boeings Business Jet, Hawker Beechcrafts Hawker 850XP, the Gulfstream V from General Dynamics and the Legacy 600 made by Embraer, according to Bakhtin.

Representatives of all the companies are working the tarmac at MAKS 2007. All but Boeing brought planes to display.

Growth in private jet sales in Russia is unrestrained, Bakhtin said.

Customers in Russia and other former Soviet countries placed 90 orders with Bombardier in the last three years for Learjet, Challenger and Global business jets. In the first half of 2007, the company has taken 30 business jet orders from the countries, spokeswoman Danielle Boudreau said.

Dassault has booked orders for 40 aircraft in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan in the past three years, Alain Aubry, sales and marketing vice president, said Thursday at the show. Half of the planes have been delivered, and Dassault is currently negotiating the sale of 10 private jets, he said.

Boeing has interest from private clients in the 787 Dreamliner, said Craig Jones, vice president for commercial airplanes. The 787, which enters service in 2008, can carry as many as 330 people in a commercial configuration.

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