Rosneft CEO uses aircraft assigned exclusively for Kremlin officials

The CEO of the Rosneft oil company Igor Sechin generally dislikes to find himself in a public spotlight. He sued the Novaya Gazeta weekly, the Vedomosti daily and RBC news agency for publishing articles about his yacht worth $150 mln and other property and benefits.

Sechin, when asked by reporters, why he had used the blue beacon on his car which could be used only by the handful of top state officials, the CEO bluntly advised the journalists to get lost.

The Russiangate investigated what air fleet the Rosneft uses and if the company's aircraft have also been equipped with the blue beacons.

THE ROSNEFT does not make its spending public. The company's internal structure, including its branches, sister- and cousin companies, has also been non-transparent.

The Rosneft contracts its cousin company, the RN-Aerocraft airline, for transporting its workers and officials.

The RN-Aerocraft was established in 2010 by the Rosneft sister company, the RN Aktiv, currently headed by Sergei Tsoi, the former press secretary of the retired Moscow Mayor. Previously, the company had been headed by Sechin's now advisor Tomas Hendel.

The RN-Aerocraft's fleet consists of the Russian-made Mi-8 and Mi-171 helicopters, Italian Agusta Westland AW139, AW109, AW189 choppers, Canadian small aircraft DHC-6 Twin as well as two business-class jets Falcon and two Bombardiers.

The total number of the Rosneft's aircraft may amount to 37.

THE PRICE of the flight hour also has been kept secret by the Rosneft.

Still, it is not a secret that the company spends billions of rubles for its fleet.

Since 2015, that spending has amounted to 40 mln rubles; in 2016 the sum rose to 3.7 bln. In 2017, the Rosneft plans to spend 2.5 bln rubles for that purpose.

Meanwhile, the same aircraft if rented from a commercial airline would cost twice as cheap as the RN-Aerocraft pays.

Besides, the RN-Aerocraft pays the Rossija for servicing its planes and choppers.

Its helicopters regularly fly from Moscow to Italy, Bulgaria and Switzerland. Two of them, as well as the business jet (tail number RA-09007), formally belong to the Rossija special airline serving the Kremlin and government's top officials.

In 2010, then-President Dmitry Medvedev used the Bombardier for his trip to Armenia. In 2014, the same plane airlifted Putin and his delegation to France.

Igor Sechin's legal right to use the Rossija's aircraft formally ended in May 2012 when he had ceased to be a deputy Prime Minister.

SO IT SEEMS that now the head of a privately-owned company retained his right to use the government's aircraft.

Igor Sechin had mentioned his air travels only once.

“Last year, I spent 650 hours onboard. I don't mind if someone wants to spend 650 airs in a plane”, he told reporters.

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