A-Group’s Russian FBOs

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A-Group operates international-standard FBOs at Moscow  Sheremetyevo and St Petersburg Pulkovo airports, serving Russia’s primary business aircraft destinations.

Russia’s A-Group owns FBOs at Moscow Sheremetyevo and St Petersburg Pulkovo airports. Founded in 2006, the company has rapidly become the leader among the country’s business aviation providers, priding itself on delivering service standards equalling the best available anywhere in the world.

​Both Sheremetyevo and Pulkovo are award winning airports, the Moscow facility in particular enjoying a long pedigree as a centre of Russian aviation. A-Group’s Terminal A at Sheremetyevo is the most recently completed anywhere in the country and offers customers the highest levels of comfort and convenience, especially with its ready availability of slots and favourable routing.

​For onward travel by road, the terminal is just 9km from Moscow’s outskirts and 30km from the city centre, while the Pulkovo facility is only 1km from St Petersburg’s ring road and 14km from its centre.

Pulkovo Contrast

Contrasting dramatically with Sheremetyevo’s modernity, A-Group’s Pulkovo terminal occupies a spectacular period building sympathetically renovated in 2013. As with the Moscow facility, however, if features a dedicated helipad, extensive hangarage and large aprons – the latter, in both cases, easily accept a Boeing 747. Also opened in 2013, Moscow’s helipad was the first of any Russian FBO.

Pulkovo’s two hangars offer a combined 6,400m2 of floor space, sufficient to accommodate 12 mid-size jets, while Sheremetyevo’s three hangars have capacity for 32 aircraft of the same size, over 16,500m2. St Petersburg opened its first hangar in 2013 and its second this year; Moscow opened its third hangar more or less simultaneously, 2017 therefore marking a major period of expansion for the company.

Given the harsh winter climate at both locations, it is perhaps no surprise that A-Group operates 12 Vestergaard Elefant de/anti-icing vehicles, but it also runs its own Schopf and Lektro aircraft tugs, and a fleet of cleaning, maintenance and transport vehicles.

Nadia Turovskaya, A-Group’s Head of PR & Marketing, explained more:

Why has A-Group established its FBOs at Sheremetyevo and Pulkovo? Are there plans to open FBOs at other Russian airports?

​Sheremetyevo and Pulkovo are the largest and most developed airports in Russia in terms of passenger facilities and aviation infrastructure. Moscow Sheremetyevo has received international awards for service quality and safety, and was named best in Europe for quality, service and punctuality by the Airports Council International.​

Its two runways enable safe operations with no delays, regardless of the weather, while the airport also has several hotels from the most respected global chains. Beyond that, it offers all the services expected of a top international airport.

​Pulkovo has also been subject to several awards and is St Petersburg’s only international airport. With Russia’s ‘Northern Capital’ the second most popular destination for business aviation clients, our FBOs represent the most convenient means of flying between Moscow and St Petersburg.

​At the moment, we see no major demand for FBOs similar to our Moscow and St Petersburg facilities in other Russian cities. However, it’s an opportunity we’re open to in the future.

What is the mix of aircraft traffic through your FBOs? And where are your customers coming from or travelling to?

Our statistics show that 22% of traffic comprises heavy jets, 18% is ultra-long range aircraft, 10% mid-size jets and 7% light jets. Helicopters account for another 20%, since we’ve our own helipads, in close proximity to the terminals. Turboprops are rare thanks to the specifics of Russian air traffic, but we often see large VIP and VVIP aircraft, including BBJs and ACJs. The remainder of our traffic is cargo and special mission flights.

​The ratio of domestic to international traffic is 59:41. Our most popular domestic destinations are St Petersburg, Sochi, Krasnodar and Ekaterinburg. Internationally, most passengers fly to Nice or other airports in southern France, Geneva, Zurich, London or Helsinki. These European flights account for most of our international traffic, but as we noted during MEBAA 2016, there is growing interest from the Middle East.

How has A-Group managed to develop such high standards in only ten years? How do you recruit and retain the right people?

Ten years is actually quite a long time span, but we aimed to provide only the highest standards of service, safety and confidentiality from day one. We’ve drawn on the experience of our colleagues in Russia and Europe to adopt the best solutions and practices. Sheremetyevo also presented us with great opportunities from the start. As Russia’s primary international airport, it already maintained the highest standards in civil aviation.

​It’s also very important to realise that we’ve developed an entire infrastructure, not only the terminals. We operate handling and de-icing services, and our extensive hangar space can house more than 40 mid-sized jets.

​And A-Group really values its staff! We select the best professionals from all over the Russian aviation industry and do our best to keep them by providing excellent working conditions, corporate development programmes and various forms of motivation. Aviation is the deal of a lifetime for our team; they are sincerely passionate and inspired people.

Are A-Group’s facilities audited by regulators and/or the companies using them?

Of course. The Russian aviation authorities audit and monitor our operations and once in a while large companies, like GlobalJet, also audit us.

​Considering Russia’s climate, de/anti-icing is a vitally important service and we pass annual De-icing/Anti-icing Quality Control Pool (DAQCP) audits.

What are the key features of A-Group’s Sheremetyevo terminal?

Sheremetyevo Terminal A is the newest and most modern in Russia. Designed and built to advanced specifications and in accordance with the latest standards, it offers distinctive comfort and provides the highest level of service for passengers and crew. Located in Russia’s most developed airport, it’s the best choice for Moscow.

And Pulkovo?

Our terminal in Pulkovo is a heritage building constructed in 1951 by world-renowned architect Alexander Gegello. It was renovated in 2013 and we carefully preserved its historical design and detail, while simultaneously improving it with modern technologies for comfort, safety and security.

What aircraft and trip planning facilities does A-Group offer?

As a full-service FBO we provide everything from handling to aircraft cleaning. Our clients can choose from three fuel providers, ensuring they achieve a competitive price. We don’t yet provide heavy maintenance on-site – it’s a service little developed in Russia, but we’re considering the possibility and looking for MRO partners.