Milestone Aviation Group signed a purchase contract today at Heli-Expo for eight AgustaWestland helicopters as part of the companies’ framework agreement, which was initially announced in September last year. The latest contract is for five AW139s and three AW189s for delivery by year-end. The framework agreement–which covers firm orders and options for 44 aircraft delivering over the next four years, when fully executed–represents the largest civilian helicopter sale in AgustaWestland history.
Transport in Italy
Coming off its first two airplane sales in China, announced last month, Italian manufacturer Piaggio Aero is eager to prove here at the ABACE show that those two P.180 Avanti IIs represent just the opening of the door into the Chinese business aviation market.
Piaggio Aero (Booth D11) has appointed CAEA Aviation Investment Co. as its exclusive sales agent in China. The Italian manufacturer also has announced CAEA’s first sale here at the Singapore Airshow, comprising two P180 Avanti II turboprops, to an unnamed customer.
Piaggio Aero Industries delivered the 100th Avanti in the U.S., the manufacturer announced on Tuesday. The centennial aircraft, S/N 1216, was delivered to Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair, which operates the world’s largest fleet of Avantis. With this recent delivery, Avantair now operates 57 Avantis.
Van Nuys, Calif.-based Elite Aviation has partnered with Piaggio Aero to expand Piaggio Avanti II sales on the U.S. West Coast. Under the agreement Elite will handle Avanti II sales in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. “The move into sales is a logical extension for Elite Aviation,” the company said.
Piaggio Aero general manager Eligio Trombetta announced that the company is currently working several new product upgrade programs for its P.180 Avanti II twin turboprop pusher, including new and quieter propellers, an improved environmental control system (ECS), a digital cabin management system (CMS) and anti-skid brakes.
Piaggio Aero has appointed Waterford, Mich.-based Pentastar Aviation a non-exclusive authorized service center. The agreement allows the MRO to provide maintenance services and support for the Piaggio Avanti II. The company, which also has a Van Nuys, Calif. operation, will act as a Piaggio Aero sales center in the upper Midwest.
Piaggio Aero broke ground on June 15 for its new production plant in Villanova D’Albenga, Italy. Piaggio plans to move Avanti II parts and subassembly manufacture and engine manufacturing and MRO operations from its current plant in Finale Ligure to the new facility, with operations scheduled to begin in 2013. Avanti II final assembly will remain at the factory in Genova Sestri Ponente.
Piaggio Aero (Static Display T19) last week broke ground for a new factory, which will produce subassemblies and parts for the A180 Avanti II twin turboprop. The new facility, which will be located at Villanova d’Albenga, Italy, is scheduled to be operational by 2013.
New Piaggio Aero general manager Eligio Trombetta was in bullish form at EBACE this week as he outlined plans for the new P1XX jet, the next aircraft to join the Italian airframer’s stable. And it seems that the new model will be more of a step up from the existing P.180 Avanti than some had imagined. “The P1XX ideally will go beyond Europe,” he said.
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