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.
While no manufacturers actually launched new aircraft at the NBAA Convention last month, several did commit to major improvements for their existing products. Notably, Cessna, Piaggio and Bombardier announced extensive upgrades–involving newer or more powerful engines, avionics and/or interior makeovers–for their CJ1 and CJ2, Avanti and Learjet 40 business airplanes, respectively.
Avantair, which operates a fractional ownership fleet of Piaggio Avanti twin turboprops, signed its 100th customer last month. Phil Satre, chairman of the board of Harrah’s Entertainment, purchased a one-eighth share. Avantair, established two years ago, has offices in Caldwell, N.J., Reno, Nev. and St. Petersburg, Fla.
The little company that almost didn’t has proved it can. Five years after Piaggio Aero Industries was only a week away from closing its doors forever, the Italian aircraft manufacturer has recorded its fourth consecutive profitable year with revenue last year of $142 million, an operating margin of $22.2 million and orders for 42 Avanti twin turboprops since last year’s NBAA Convention.
In its first-quarter FY2008 report issued late last week, Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair said revenues increased by 52.9 percent, to $25.7 million, year-over-year, but its quarterly net loss increased to $4.8 million from $3.8 million a year ago.
Innovative Solutions & Support continues its aggressive certification schedule for RVSM equipment for business aircraft.
Piaggio Aero Industries is considering laying off 150 to 170 workers over the next few months. This reduction follows a three-year period of transition of ownership from the Italian government, where a “pre-purchase level of employees was to be retained,” said company officials.
Piaggio Aero Industries delivered 16 Avantis last year, up from 12 in 2001 and six in 2000. The production rate is set at 20 aircraft this year and 26 for next year. Revenues rose by 11 percent to $203 million last year.
Sviluppo Italia, the Italian government industrial investment agency, has bought more than 20 percent of Piaggio Aero Industries, parent company of Piaggio America, with an investment of E20 million ($21.8 million).