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Helicopter Taxis Plans Gain Momentum

While Moscow's notorious traffic jams have seen little improvement, two private investors plan to build a heliport near MKAD that will offer short-distance transport services to those willing to pay more.

Real estate company NDV and Aerosoyuz helicopter company are prepared to invest $110 million to build a helipad in Myakininskaya Poima outside the Moscow Ring Road to the north of the city.

They will also lease or purchase 15 to 16 helicopters that will mostly be used as taxis, but the chances are that the landing pad could become a heliport and would offer a regular air service in the future depending on demand, Aerosoyuz president Alexander Klimchuk was quoted as saying by Vedomosti.

He said that the price to fly from the heliport to Sheremetyevo Airport will range from 1,000 to 2,000 rubles (from $30 to $60) per person.

The project is a second of this nature in the Moscow vicinity.

Several months ago, a similar helipad opened east of Moscow at the intersection of Shosse Entuziastov and MKAD.

Aerosoyuz plans to open 10 such helipads around Moscow by 2015.

Experts predict that "heli-taxis" and private helicopters could become widely used around Moscow considering the traffic problems in the city but at present there are some serious limitations to their use.

In Moscow, unlike in some other large Russian cities like St. Petersburg, private helicopters are banned from flying over the city. And so far there has been no indication that these restrictions would be lifted in the future.

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