Getting Avanti deliveries back on track

 - December 6, 2006, 10:57 AM

In response to the Ardent Acquisitions filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on how lack of expected Avanti deliveries is affecting its bottom line, Piaggio Aero headquarters in Italy provided the following statement:

“The delivery of three aircraft in the first three quarters of this year was not in line with our plans for a number of reasons.

“The Avanti II was certified by EASA in October 2005 and the first aircraft was delivered to the first European customer on Dec. 23, 2005, with a number of aircraft planned to leave for the U.S. market immediately, once the new version had received FAA approval.

“Unfortunately, certification by the FAA was taking much longer than expected, forcing us to revise completely our plan.

“Piaggio Aero sells about 70 percent of Avanti production in North America, and this delay in receiving FAA certification had a major impact on our delivery forecast. In addition, we had experienced problems in the supply chain in the first two quarters of 2006 which were certainly not helping us to stick to our plans.

“FAA certification [received in March] has now allowed us to accelerate production. Since the GAMA end-of-September report we have already delivered five aircraft, and there are several others ready to be delivered in the next weeks.

“Although the problems experienced in the first half of the year will certainly not allow us to keep our original target [of 24], we are still confident [that we will] be able to deliver 18 to 20 aircraft by the end of this year.

“A number of actions have been put in place to boost production in the future. The relocation of the Finale Ligure factory in the new Albenga production site will certainly play a major role in this.

“The risk of losing sales or customers as a consequence of the delays is there. However, as of today, we haven’t lost any contracts. We are convinced that our customers will wait a little bit longer to receive their new Avanti II. Piaggio Aero has a backlog of 97 Avanti IIs.”