11 Jun 2024 13:02

UTair hoping to continue purchasing helicopters with support from National Wealth Fund - CEO

MOSCOW. June 11 (Interfax) - UTair would like to continue purchasing new Russian helicopters with the support of Russia's National Wealth Fund (NWF), CEO Andrei Martirosov said.

"I would like to. In fact, this is one of the best examples of the best use of NWF funds, because the multiplier is colossal. NWF money is sent to the high-tech industry and the result is a product with high added value and a high level of technological conversion, as it is now fashionable to say," Martirosov told reporters on the sidelines of the HeliRussia-2024 forum.

UTair Helicopter Services replenished its fleet with 11 Mi-8MTV-1 and four Mi-8AMT helicopters last year. They were transferred by the State Transport Leasing Company (GTLK (OKPO: 57992197)) as part of an investment project to update Russia's helicopter fleet using NWF funds. The parties entered into an agreement for the supply of ten more Mi-8MTV-1s during SPIEF-2024 last week with support from the National Wealth Fund.

The NWF's "Helicopter" project was approved by the government in February 2023. In accordance with the project, the State Transport Leasing Company will supply 86 Mi-8 helicopters to domestic carriers in 2023-2025 at a preferential leasing rate of 2.5%. Investments in the project total 44.5 billion rubles, and it is 100% financed from the National Wealth Fund.

As STLC reported, to date the company has received the entire amount of funds for the implementation of the project and has advanced the funds for the construction of all the Mi-8s it ordered. There were 26 MI-8 helicopters leased in 2023. The demand for helicopters, "especially on such preferential terms, is colossal," STLC General Director Evgeniy Dietrich said. It "significantly exceeds the capabilities of the current NWF project," so the possible prolongation and expansion of the project is being considered, he said.

Idle Mi-17 helicopters

Most of UTair's Mi-17 helicopters, whose operation was previously suspended amid a reduction in participation in UN missions, are still idle, Martirosov said on Monday.

"Some of them have been submitted for repairs, but a significant part is idle - more than 20 of them are still awaiting repairs," he told reporters.

When asked how this correlates with the fact that UTair is ordering new helicopters, Martirosov said: "Everything absolutely clearly correlates in the sense that today a situation exists where starting to operate a new helicopter is integrally more efficient than restoring the airworthiness of a helicopter, which has exhausted its service life."

"But this does not mean that these [idle] helicopters are out of service forever. Naturally, we have plans to restore their airworthiness. They are at our technical center in Tyumen. "Everything will fall into place!" Martirosov said.

The UN has historically been the main customer for UTair helicopter operations abroad. Due to anti-Russian sanctions in 2022, the share of the carrier's presence in the organization's contracts began to decline.

The UTair Group fleet includes more than 300 helicopters of various types. The group is controlled by AK-invest JSC, with a share of 50.5%.