On Saturday, fractional provider Avantair grounded its entire fleet of about 60 Piaggio Avanti twin turboprops to conduct “a comprehensive examination of all maintenance records and aircraft.” According to industry sources, the action stemmed from an incident earlier this year in which an Avantair Avanti shed an elevator in flight.
“This action is voluntary and involves the temporary stand-down of [our] aircraft,” Avantair said in a statement. “To date, of the aircraft in the fleet that have been inspected, there have been no compliance or airworthiness issues. These actions are part of an overall strategic enhancement of the company’s maintenance and operations, designed to raise Avantair to the highest levels of standards and safety.”
As of today, about 40 of Avantair’s airplanes were back in service after the inspections, and the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based company expects to have its entire fleet flying again by Thursday. While its fleet was grounded, Avantair outsourced trips to third-party charter operators or, in some instances, told customers it was unable to conduct their flights, a spokesman told AIN.
“Safety is Avantair’s top priority. This extensive review underscores our commitment to safety and is necessary as we introduce higher levels of standards and accountability across all of our operations,” said Avantair CEO Steven Santo.