Fractional Piaggio Avanti operator Avantair late last week announced more fleet expansion, further growth and new personnel hires. Avantair is continuing to take deliveries of new Avanti II turboprop twins and expects to more than double the size of its fleet over the next three years from 52 to 107 aircraft, the Clearwater, Fla.-based company said.
Piaggio Aero Industries tapped John Bingham to serve as president and CEO of Piaggio America, as well as a member of Piaggio Aero’s board. Bingham’s career spans the high-end luxury automobile industry, where he served as vice president of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars, and most recently in general aviation as Cirrus Design’s executive vice president. Former Piaggio America president and CEO
Three new service centers located in Fort Lauderdale, Toronto and Montreal have been added to the Piaggio Aero network. West Star Aviation in East Alton, Ill., received a similar designation two months ago. According to a Piaggio spokesman, an additional center is scheduled to be opened in Calgary, Canada, early next year.
Dubai Airshow shoppers looking to buy an aircraft made by a locally owned company need look no further than the Piaggio Avanti II. The eye-catching twin turbo-prop exudes the Italian style of its origins but Piaggio Aero Industries itself is exhibiting here under the auspices of its one-third shareholder Mubadala Development Co. of Abu Dhabi (Stand C510).
Piaggio Aero CEO Alberto Galassi yesterday confirmed that the company’s much anticipated, follow-on aircraft to the P.180 Avanti II turboprop would be a jet. “Definitely,” he said.
It has been one year since one of the world’s largest industrial conglomerates, India’s Tata Sons, purchased a one-third share of Piaggio Aero Industries, joining Italy’s Ferrari and Di Mase families and Mubadala Development of Abu Dhabi, UAE, as a primary shareholder.
Piaggio Aero has signed an memorandum of understanding with Sabena Technics that sets the framework for a contract to paint part of its P.180 Avanti twin business turboprop aircraft.
Under the terms of the proposed contract, Sabena would carry out painting services on new aircraft that roll out of Piaggio Aero’s facilities in Genoa, Italy. Sabena expects to start painting its first livery by the end of next month.
Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair reported another quarter of positive EBITA profits in a difficult economic environment, putting the Piaggio Avanti fleet operator on the path to health after years of losses. In its fiscal third quarter, which ended March 31, the company saw year-over-year revenues climb 15.7 percent to $34.7 million.
Piaggio Aero Industries’ new management team is still refusing to go public on long-rumored plans that it will launch a new jet program. At the same time, the Italian manufacturer has reported that production rates for the existing P.180 Avanti II twin pusherprop are holding up well in soft market conditions.
Avantair on December 15 took delivery of its 50th Piaggio Avanti turboprop twin–in line, it said, with Avantair’s steady fleet expansion since it was started in July 2003. At present, Avantair operates the youngest fleet in the fractional aircraft industry, at approximately 3.7 years, according to the JetNet Fractional Ownership and Aircraft Report.