Piaggio stakes bigger claim to jet project

 - September 3, 2010, 5:21 AM

Recent news reports claimed that Piaggio Aero shareholder Mubadala Development has plans to build its own business jet, but John Bingham, Piaggio America president and CEO, and Piaggio Aero spokesman Enrico Sgarbi told AIN at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh last month that this information is not accurate. "We are [Mubadala's] platform for jets," said Sgarbi. Piaggio and shareholders Mubadala and Tata are in the early stages of planning for a new jet, tentatively named P1XX. "We're just starting to put together a marketing strategy," said Bingham, which will include focus groups of potential buyers and operators. Piaggio has also hired a research firm to analyze the peaks and troughs of the industry to determine the best inflection point for introduction of the jet and the opportune times to target program milestones, including entry into service. Further announcements about the P1XX are expected, but Bingham would not reveal when these will take place.

The P1XX is not a replacement for the Avanti twin turboprop, and demand for that airplane is expected to grow as the economy improves, Bingham said. "Over the next month or two you'll see the announcement of Piaggio opening in new markets around the world." Piaggio Aero also announced the addition of three new service centers in the U.S., bringing the total to 14 in North America.