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A Moscow air taxi is expected to make its first commercial flights as early as in 2007
A Moscow air taxi is expected to make its first commercial flights as early as in 2007. The city authorities plan to set up regular air taxi flights from Moscow to prestigious suburban townships and cities in European Russia. Gazeta was told in the Moscow Mayor's office yesterday that the city had allocated 27 million rubles ($964,000) to draft a detailed program, which includes flight regulations, clearance arrangements with the Defense Ministry, a list of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft for the fleet, the design of air taxi stations, selection of locations for stations in Moscow and near the city, and incentives for investors. Altant Soyuz, a company in which the Moscow City Government owns a blocking stake, has already been identified as the chief carrier of the air taxi system. Experts say that to be profitable, the carrier will have set a price of between 400 and 600 euros per hour for a business-class flight, while those taking small VIP planes will have to pay 6,000 to 11,000 euros per hour. Sociologists say only people earning at least 3,000 euros per month will be able to afford an air taxi journey going at 150 euros for a 15-to-20-minute flight. Air taxis will obviously not be able to establish a broad clientele given these high fares. This means that the service will fail to end traffic jams in the Russian capital, which is supposed to be the project's main aim. The concept for the development of air taxi service in Moscow, which was approved last August, sets the cost of the entire program at 630.5 to 730.5 million euros, of which 430.5 million will be spent on the aircraft and additional runways and helipads. The carriers' original and current assets needed for the program are estimated at 200 to 300 million euros.
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