RUBAE Show Presses On in Pandemic Times

 - September 16, 2021, 11:38 AM
Held at the Vnukovo-3 FBO in Moscow, this year’s Russian Business Aviation Exhibition hosted a dozen aircraft, including a Falcon 8X and two Hawkers, with the largest a B757. Photo: Vladimir Karnozov

The 15th edition of the Russian Business Aviation Exhibition (RUBAE) opened at Moscow Vnukovo Airport on September 8, albeit with a smaller footprint than previous shows thanks to the pandemic. The three-day event was held at the Vnukovo-3 FBO after skipping last year due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

RUBAE 2021 saw the number of exhibiting companies with stands dropping below 40 and the number of aircraft to a dozen, showing a considerable reduction to pre-pandemic times. Still, organizer Russian United Business Aviation Association (RUBAA) decided to run the show to commemorate the Vnukovo Airport’s 80th anniversary.

Participation of the Western manufacturers was a shadow of previous RUBAE shows, with only two foreign-registered aircraft on display—a Dassault Falcon 8X and Pilatus PC-24. The latter was on display inside the only exhibition hall along with two turboprops—a Piaggio P.180 Avanti II (operated by Russia’s State Air Traffic Management Corp.) and a Piper Meridian.

RUBAE 2021
RUBAE 2021 Photo: Vladimir Karnozov

The largest aircraft on display was a Boeing 757-200 purchased earlier this year by Russia’s Azur Air from the Four Seasons hotel network. Azur Air, which is controlled by Turkey's Koçkar family, intends to use this airplane configured for 72 business-class travelers on charters organized by tour operator Anex Tour Group, which serves Turkey, the UAE, and the Maldives.

Also on display was a VIP-configured Tupolev Tu-204-300 operated by Russia’s Cosmonaut Training Centre’s aviation arm—Cosmos Airlines—to carry astronauts and associated personnel. Other jets on display included a Cessna CitationJet, Hawker 700 and 800, and Beechcraft Premier I, the latter being the only one of its kind in Russia and marked “for sale.”

Attendees at RUBAE 2021
Attendees at RUBAE 2021 helped the Russian United Business Aviation Association celebrate the 80th anniversary of Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport. Photo: Vladimir Karnozov

Gulfstream, the largest RUBAE exhibitor in the past, was not at the show—not unexpected since the company announced in June that it wasn’t attending any trade shows in 2021. Meanwhile, Bombardier had a slimmed-down stand and brought no aircraft, though there was a privately-owned Challenger 350 on display. A tarmac space appeared to have been reserved for a Global 6500, but the aircraft did not arrive. Pilatus shared a stand with its local partner, Nesterov Aviation.

Rotorcraft were represented by a Mil Mi-8AMT and an Airbus EC130T2, the latter under the tent of Airbus Corporate Helicopter. Aircraft operators exhibiting included ABS Jets, Jet Express, Meridian, RusJet, Tulpar, UTAir-Helicopter Services, and Weltall-Avia.

Speaking at the show opening, RUBAA president Jaroslav Odintsev said that despite the pandemic and geopolitics, business aviation remains active and hopeful of better times ahead. He added that RUBAE 2022 is set for September 7 to 9.