Italian aircraft manufacturer Piaggio has told AIN that the first of 56 Avanti P.180 twin-turboprop aircraft from the former fleet of bankrupt Avantair has had its airworthiness certificate revalidated by the FAA. Avantair was grounded, and the airworthiness certificates of all its aircraft were revoked by the FAA, after lax maintenance at the failing fractional program operator came to light earlier this year.
“Over the past 60 days we have working out a process to return [former] Avantair aircraft to service,” John Bingham, president and CEO of Piaggio America, told AIN. Under the process, developed with the FAA, a team from Piaggio Aero performs an inspection that requires about five days for each aircraft. First, a list of needed repairs is compiled and then Piaggio America coordinates the repairs through a Piaggio factory authorized service center. Once completed, Piaggio America informs the FAA, which may either inspect the aircraft or simply re-issue the aircraft’s airworthiness certificate.
The first Avanti to undergo the process and to be re-issued its airworthiness certificate was serial number 1214, owned by a company in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The aircraft was flown on a ferry permit to Stevens Aviation in Greenville, N.C., where the necessary work was carried out.
“What this means is, there’s a proven way for all former Avantair owners to get their airworthiness certificates back and have all these aircraft return to the sky,” said Bingham. Piaggio maintenance personnel are now inspecting more former Avantair aircraft, he said.