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.”
Clearwater, Fla.-based Avantair announced on Tuesday that its entire fleet of fractional Piaggio Avantis will soon feature airborne high-speed Internet. The company is now installing Aircell ATG 5000 communications systems in its twin-turboprop fleet and expects to complete the work this summer. The ATG 5000 covers the continental U.S. above 10,000 feet and portions of Alaska, providing broadband connection via a nationwide network of ground stations.
Two Avantair pilots and two passengers suffered only minor injuries when their Piaggio Avanti P.180 went off the west side of Runway 18 and flipped over while landing at Flint (Mich.) Bishop International Airport last Wednesday.
Piaggio Aero Industries delivered the 100th Avanti in the U.S., the manufacturer announced on Tuesday. The centennial aircraft, S/N 1216, was delivered to Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair, which operates the world’s largest fleet of Avantis. With this recent delivery, Avantair now operates 57 Avantis.
Piaggio Aero general manager Eligio Trombetta announced that the company is currently working several new product upgrade programs for its P.180 Avanti II twin turboprop pusher, including new and quieter propellers, an improved environmental control system (ECS), a digital cabin management system (CMS) and anti-skid brakes.
New Piaggio Aero general manager Eligio Trombetta was in bullish form at EBACE as he outlined plans for the new P1XX jet, the next aircraft to join the Italian airframer’s stable. And it seems that the new model will be more of a step up from the existing P.180 Avanti than some had imagined.
Avantair now offers leasing of fractional shares of Piaggio Avanti turboprops. The new Axis lease program allows buyers to lease a share of a fractional Avanti; this is a true lease, not a block-charter program.
Before the recession truly made its presence felt, Italian OEM Piaggio Aero recognized its impending arrival and adjusted production rates accordingly, said Piaggio America president and CEO John Bingham. “What we were able to do was recognize it early enough to reposition in terms of manufacturing and market access.”
Thanks to Part 91 operators, overall U.S. business aircraft flight activity eked out a 0.5-percent increase last month versus a year ago, according to TraqPak data released yesterday by aviation services company Argus. Part 91 activity rose a healthy 6 percent year-over-year, but the Part 135 charter and Part 91K fractional segments both saw activity fall by 7.2 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
Overall business aircraft flight activity climbed 4.4 percent last month year-over-year, bolstered by a double-digit-percent resurgence in Part 91 corporate operations, according to TraqPak data released today by aviation services company Argus. Part 91 flying climbed 10 percent in December compared with the same month in 2009, which followed a year-over-year 12.2-percent increase in November.