AIN senior editor Kirby Harrison spoke with Piaggio America president and CEO John Bingham about the business aircraft market, as well as the company’s future plans for the Avanti II turboprop twin and the P1XX jet 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.”
John Bingham, president and CEO of Piaggio America, did not mince words when he kicked off Piaggio Aero's press conference Monday. "It's a horrible market," he said. Piaggio Aero Industries of Italy is the manufacturer of the P.180 Avanti twin turboprop pusher. But Bingham then presented an overview of the company's current and future developments, which provided some salve for the grim assessment.
Italian turboprop manufacturer Piaggio Aero, which recently announced its entry into the Brazilian market, plans to bring its business to Russia as well. The company is seeking Russian certification for its popular P.180 Avanti II twin-engine turboprop, which it expects to begin delivering in the country by April or May of next year.
Recent news reports claimed that Piaggio Aero shareholder Mubadala Development has plans to build its own business jet, but John Bingham, Piaggio America president and CEO, and Piaggio Aero spokesman Enrico Sgarbi told AIN at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh last month that this information is not accurate. "We are [Mubadala's] platform for jets," said Sgarbi.
Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Aerospace is aiming to be not only a tier-one supplier of large composite structures to Airbus or Boeing, but also a business jet manufacturer. Yesterday at the Farnborough airshow, Mubadala Aerospace executive director Homaid Al Shemmari told AIN in an exclusive interview that the company intends to build a “business jet-sized aircraft” for entry into service in 2018.
Airflite and Piaggio Aero have signed an agreement to qualify and approve Singapore-based AirFlite Asia as an OEM-appointed maintenance provider for the Piaggio Aero Avanti/II in the Asia-Pacific region. Under the terms of the agreement the company will provide maintenance, repairs and overhaul services as well as spare parts. It is also home to Piaggio Aero’s Southeast Asian sales center, Kirkwall.
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It’s no secret that Piaggio Aero has been working on developing a jet, and this work has accelerated with the support of shareholders Tata and Mubadala. According to John Bingham, president and CEO of Piaggio America and chief marketing officer for Piaggio Aero, development of the P1XX jet is ongoing and the recession has allowed Piaggio Aero to hire some new talent to help bring the program to fruition.
Piaggio Aero (Booth No. 1325) took a bold stance during the recession to broaden worldwide recognition of its P180 Avanti II twin turboprop, according to John Bingham, president and CEO of Piaggio America and chief marketing officer for Piaggio Aero. “It paid off for us,” Bingham told AIN. Potential buyers who might not have considered purchasing an Avanti have added the turboprop to their shopping lists, he said.