Veteran de Havilland Canada and Bombardier executive Tom Appleton takes over as president and CEO of Greenville, S.C.-based Piaggio America as of September 1, replacing Steve Hanvey, who has chosen to pursue other career interests. Hanvey was the founding president and CEO of Piaggio America three years ago.
Italian government investment group Sviluppo Italia has bought a 20-percent stake in Piaggio Aero Industries for $20 million ($22.4 million). At the same time, the Italian airframer’s existing private shareholders have injected a further $15 million ($16.8 million) in fresh capital to fund new product development and increased manufacturing capacity.
Piaggio Aero Industries is developing a special version of the P.180 Avanti for the Italian air force intended for navaid flight inspections. Private firm Norwegian Special Mission will supply its Unifis 3000 inspection terminals for the reconfigured airplanes, due to enter service in 2010. Italy’s Aeronautica Militaire 14th Stormo is providing four Avantis from its fleet for upgrades with the flight inspection gear.
Alitalia director Giorgio Giorgi has been appointed as the new general manager of Piaggio Aero Industries. Giorgi, who has an engineering background, has been with the Italian flag carrier since 1968 and is also a director of Milan-based charter operator Eurofly. At Alitalia, he has been responsible for aircraft servicing, fleet development and flight crew costs.
Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair is narrowing its losses and on course to reach profitability in the near future, company CEO Steven Santo said May 14 during a quarterly investor conference. In the first three months of this year, the Clearwater, Fla.-based operator increased its year-over-year revenues by 51 percent, to $29.9 million, and decreased its net loss by $2 million, to $5.4 million.
An STC’d RVSM avionics installation for the twin-turboprop Piaggio P.180 Avanti will be provided by Stevens Aviation of Greenville, S.C. Stevens was also selected by Piaggio to provide the interior installation and exterior paint for the airplane. Completions by Stevens are already under way on seven Avantis.
Piaggio Aero is about to deliver the 150th P180 Avanti II to a customer and the Italian airframer at last seems to be coming to grips with an unacceptably slow production process that has badly stalled its output rate for the program.
Notwithstanding the weak economy, Piaggio delivered 14 Avantis last year, two more than in 2001 and eight more than in 2000, when the reorganized Italian company resumed production and marketing of the twin turboprop. Although the total number of Avanti deliveries over the last three years is modest compared with those of other aircraft manufacturers, Piaggio’s growth rate is enviable in terms of percentage.
Piaggio America of Greenville, S.C., has signed a deal for nine Avanti twin turboprops for a new fractional operation by Calgary, Alberta, Canada startup Avia Aviation. The contract includes a firm order for three Avantis, with options for six more. This is Piaggio’s second order from a fractional operator. The first was from Skyline Aviation at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y., for six Avantis, with an option for two more.
In its first-quarter FY2008 report issued in mid-November, Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair said revenues increased 52.9 percent, to $25.7 million, year-over-year, but its quarterly net loss increased to $4.8 million from $3.8 million the previous year.