It seems that due to the lack of original spare parts and the ability to fly abroad for repairs and maintenance, aircraft that are in the personal use of the participants in the Russian Forbes list are increasingly turning into “real estate”. But the maintenance of an airliner that does not fly still costs money.
In the spring of last year, the European authorities “closed the sky” for Russian aviation, introducing a complete ban on the transit of Russian aircraft through their airspace and their landing at their airports. In addition, the supply of original spare parts for the repair of foreign-made liners has ceased. And if large passenger air carriers are still somehow coping with this situation, “parking” faulty aircraft and obtaining spare parts through third countries, then this state of affairs affects VIP aviation in the most sad way. After all, if earlier the business jets of Russian businessmen from the Forbes list underwent maintenance and repairs in Europe, where they were given top-notch attention, now they have lost this opportunity.
And this is much more disturbing than the disappointing impossibility of flying to Europe for the weekend. After all, in this case we are talking about the personal safety of the owners of large businesses, and therefore, is a matter of paramount importance. Nobody wants to bring things to a plane crash, and the VIP-person liners remain parked on the ground until better times.
Movable and “real estate”
The Flightradar resource data allow making such an assumption. We’ve looked at the last year’s flight history of several private jet aircraft whose numbers are associated with powerful businessmen. And they found only one actively flying – Pilatus PC12 / 47E. This single-engine turboprop aircraft manufactured by the Swiss company Pilatus Aircraft with tail number RA01578 may belong to a businessman from Yekaterinburg, the owner of Fores Group of Companies Sergey Shmotiev. So, in April, he made a flight from Yekaterinburg to Minsk, in May and June – one flight each to Ulyanovsk. This small aircraft, costing about $5 million, is most often used for private and corporate flights.
The situation is much sadder with large and expensive liners, which earlier, before the introduction of sectoral and personal sanctions, were the subject of special pride of their owners. So, according to Flightradar, over the past year they have not taken to the skies:
Bombardier Global 7500 (T7-7AA), acquired in 2021 by Russian billionaire, founder of Yota telecommunications operator Albert Avdolyan. The cost of such a “winged house” starts from 75 million dollars, they are produced by the Canadian company Bombardier Aerospace.
Bombardier Global 6000 (M-YSSF), owned by Severstal owner Alexei Mordashov. However, it seems that the oligarch is much more fond of his yacht “Nord”, which in the West has already been dubbed “the personification of expansionist imperialism.”
a similar business jet Bombardier Global 6000 (MYVVF), whose ownership is associated with the name of Viktor Vekselberg, the owner of the Renova group. The billionaire has a fairly wide range of interests, and aviation is just one of the aspects of his activity, and he fell under Western sanctions back in 2018.
Airbus-319-133 (M-KATE) has no information about flights over the past year, the owner of which is the former Perm orderly, and now the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. However, judging by how western Themis looks askance at him, a businessman may not be up to flying lately.
The Airbus A-319-115 (M-RBUS), which some time ago allegedly belonged to billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, seems to have been completely sold to the Luxembourg airline. It is known that the ex-presidential candidate of Russia sold off his assets in Russia and took them abroad for quite a long time. And he arrived on a regular flight to receive the Israeli passport promised as a repatriate.
In pre-sanction times, the fleet of business jets in Russia consisted of about 500 aircraft. In recent years, some private liners have been deregistered and apparently sold to other hands, most likely abroad. And those that have not changed owners, but now do not fly (first of all, presumably, for reasons of the owner’s safety), become “money eaters”. After all, in addition to the cost of the aircraft itself, its owner has to pay for a parking space in the hangar, ongoing maintenance, crew salaries, insurance, and much more. You can try to save money by leasing the aircraft for charter flights, but there are other costs and troubles. In general, the current situation with private liners can be characterized by paraphrasing the old proverb: “the oligarch had no trouble – the oligarch bought the plane.”