UT Air Helicopters: Russians in Paris

There is a great (but probably false) theory that French cafes are called bistros because of the Russian invasion in 1814. Cossacks fed up with slow service in cafes would shout out “bistro” – the Russian word for quickly.

In Paris this year, the main word was “zaderzhka” Russian for delay. Aeroflot announced it was cancelling its order for 22 Boeing 787s. The flag carrier said that it decision was based on capacity and a new fleet strategy. The falling Russian economy and the country’s relationship with the US may also have played a part.

UT Air Aviation Group, which owns Russia’s largest lessor, is also having a tough time.

It is restructuring and looking to cut almost half of its fixed wing aircraft.  The helicopter division, which operates 350 helicopters, is also having a tough time.

It offers a range of services – including missions for the United Nations – but it is most reliant on off-shore oil and gas services. It is being hit by lower oil prices, the economy and the very weak rouble (which makes foreign helicopters very expensive).

UT Air ordered 15 H175s (then EC175s) at Heli Expo in March 2011. It took delivery of the first one this year but is now looking to delay the rest.

A spokesperson for Airbus Helicopters says: “We are in discussion with UTair concerning the next deliveries and adapting to their requests and current situation.”

Alasdair Whyte

Alasdair launched Corporate Jet Investor and Helicopter Investor in 2010. He has more than 15 year's experience as a financial journalist and has specialised in aviation for much of this time. As well as editing the website, Alasdair helps to organise our international conferences and events. He also regularly chairs them as well as other industry gatherings.

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