Avantair, the fractional operator flying an all-Piaggio Avanti fleet, took delivery last month of its 16th copy of the Italian-built twin-turboprop pusher. The Fairfield, N.J., company said it will continue to receive one Avanti per month through 2007, which will bring the planned fleet to nearly 50 aircraft by the end of that year. At press time the number of Avantair share-owners stood at 132.
MSA Aircraft Products of San Antonio has introduced its Accordia pleated window shade systems for the Embraer Legacy, Gulfstream 200 (as well as an Accordia ultra-light window assembly for all Gulfstreams), Piaggio Avanti and Learjet 35.
Piaggio Aero Industries, manufacturer of the Avanti turboprop twin, says it will develop a business jet. The Italian airframer is considering which of two designs to develop, but must first reach agreement with a “strategic partner” to make the project a reality. “The concept is almost frozen.
Piaggio Aero Industries yesterday sold a Piaggio P.180 Avanti II to an undisclosed French customer. The new twin turboprop pusher will be delivered in January 2008. The deal was struck here at Le Bourget by the Italian manufacturer’s French agent Theirry Boutsen.
Piaggio Aero Industries is showcasing the new Avanti II version of its distinctive twin pusherprop here at Dubai 2005 this week. But the Italian company is remaining tight-lipped about long-anticipated plans for a new light business jet.
The Avanti II completed European certification last month and delivery of the first new-version aircraft is to follow to an unnamed Swiss customer.
In response to the Ardent Acquisitions filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on how lack of expected Avanti deliveries is affecting its bottom line, Piaggio Aero headquarters in Italy provided the following statement:
“The delivery of three aircraft in the first three quarters of this year was not in line with our plans for a number of reasons.
Piaggio Aero Industries is preparing to launch a new jet program before the end of this year and is debating which of two designs to develop. On April 19, the Italian firm laid the financial foundations for the anticipated product launch when it announced that Mubadala Development, an investment company owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, is purchasing a 35-percent stake in its business.
During a recent visit to Piaggio’s Italian home, EBACE Convention News got a first-hand demonstration of how the P180 Avanti can enable business people to make trips that would have been infeasible by other means. Having briefed journalists at its Genoa headquarters on the northwest coast of Italy, Piaggio wanted them to visit the famous Ferrari sports car factory in Maranello near Modena in the center of the country.
Almost 20 years since the P180 Avanti made its first flight in August 1986, the eye-catching twin pusherprop at last seems to have established itself in the business aviation community. Piaggio acknowledges that the radical new design arrived in the marketplace at the wrong time in the early 1990s and its slow initial sales almost killed off the company.
Piaggio markets the P180 Avanti as offering close to jet speed and a generously proportioned cabin that can seat up to nine passengers (but more typically is configured for six or seven). Innovative aerodynamics give the aircraft its cutting edge, featuring laminar flow optimized throughout the low-drag fuselage.