Avantair Reboot Plan Faces Owner Pushback
The eleventh-hour proposal to restructure Avantair, the Clearwater, Fla.-based Piaggio Avanti turboprop fractional ownership program, is on hold amid owner resistance. Avantair’s “NewCo” proposal, floated July 3, included a $25,000 per-owner maintenance charge to make its grounded fleet airworthy; halving the service area and shedding a similar percentage of Avantair’s 620-some owners while requiring buy-in by 300 owners; and finding $4.5 million in outside financing bolstered by $2 million in cash and credit the company says Piaggio Aero, the Avanti’s manufacturer, has pledged. (Piaggio America president John Bingham told AIN that Piaggio is “pleased to support [Avantair] in any way we can within the boundaries of the situation,” but declined to discuss specific figures.)
On July 9 Avantair president and COO David Haslett emailed owners stating the company’s first priority is “to preserve the value of your fractional share asset in your aircraft, independent of any involvement in a NewCo,” and again asked for a $25,000 maintenance assessment. More than half a dozen owners AIN spoke with said they would not provide additional funds.
Meanwhile, Avantair faces debts of more than $122 million, owner lawsuits and repossession of its core aircraft.
Haslett did not respond to AIN’s request for comment.
Meanwhile, Rapid Aircraft Maintenance Services has taken possession of four Avantair aircraft at its New York-area Teterboro Airport base. It has filed a lawsuit in the Bergen County Court for permission to auction the Avantis in 30 days (on July 27) if Avantair does not settle its maintenance bills. RAMS owner Dennis Espinosa has posted the N-numbers of these aircraft on the Avantair owners forum in the hope that they will contact him directly to resolve the debts.