Clearwater, Fla.-based Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair shut down today and furloughed employees as it “seeks alternative financing arrangements that it hopes will enable it to resume operations as quickly and efficiently as possible,” according to a June 26 8-K SEC filing. The company also received notice on Monday of a customer class-action lawsuit and is in breach of a lease agreement for its six core airplanes, with their repossession by lessors a possibility.
After weathering a three-week voluntary grounding stemming from a maintenance issue late last year, operations at Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair have been pretty much normal. That is until last Thursday, when an anonymous call to the Clearwater, Fla.-based company’s whistleblower hotline initiated the grounding of its fleet again.
Clearwater, Fla.-based Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair recalled all of its remaining 15 furloughed pilots yesterday, company CEO Steve Santo told AIN. This brings Avantair’s pilot ranks to 194 people, not including 10 pilots who opted to bypass during the recalls following a voluntary fleet grounding and subsequent pilot furlough late last year.
Clearwater, Fla.-based Piaggio Avanti fractional operator Avantair says that its flight and maintenance operations have fully recovered from a three-week voluntary standdown that ended in November. Further, it has closed a second round of funding since the grounding and hired a new COO.
Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair closed on $2.8 million in new funding yesterday via the issuance of senior secured convertible notes. The notes have a three-year term and an interest rate of 2 percent. In addition, the company restructured its existing aircraft financing arrangements with Midsouth Services, reducing its monthly lease payments by more than $1.8 million during the next 15 months and extending the maturities on two aircraft.
Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair restarted operations on November 9, following a nearly three-week voluntary grounding of its approximately 60 Piaggio Avantis. The voluntary grounding was precipitated by a July 28 incident in which an Avantair-operated Avanti shed an elevator in flight and flew two subsequent legs before the crew noticed that the control surface was missing. “The Piaggio continued to fly normally for a few reasons, including its dual elevators, forward canards and high wings,” according to Avantair CEO Steve Santo.
St. Petersburg, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair restarted operations on Friday following a nearly three-week voluntary grounding of its approximately 60 Piaggio Avantis. “We’re back and flying, and are covering all our trips now,” Avantair CEO Steve Santo told AIN yesterday.
Fractional provider Avantair continues to stand down operations and has retained safety expert Nick Sabatini to help complete a thorough examination of its fleet of about 60 Piaggio Avantis, including a comprehensive review of records and supporting maintenance documentation. It has also furloughed all of its pilots and operations staff.
The voluntary fleet grounding at Avantair apparently is continuing into its sixth day. Avantair told AIN earlier this week that it stood down its entire fleet of about 60 Piaggio Avantis on Saturday to conduct safety checks. According to sources, the action was prompted by a July 28 incident in which an Avantair Avanti shed an elevator in flight.
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.”