Piaggio is backing its Avanti Evo model with several new customer support initiatives, including some that will benefit operators of older Avantis.
The Italian turboprop manufacturer is offering Evo customers a Forward Wing Care program. The five-year deal covers scheduled and unscheduled airframe and component work, including labor. Work can be done at Piaggio's Villanova d’Albenga, Italy, facility or any of the company's 15 authorized service centers, eight of which are in the U.S.
"We are here," Piaggo America president and CEO Michael Hissam told AIN at NBAA 2017. "Our customer support locations and how we support the fleet are what we want to emphasize. Once people see it, the airplane sells itself."
Piaggio (Booth C11920) also is beefing up its U.S. spare parts inventory. About half of the 220-strong Piaggio fleet, including the first P.180, operates in the U.S., so positioning more parts there helps shorten lead times.
The company also is setting up an AOG support network with Constant Aviation. Expected to be in place in 2018, the network will complement Piaggio-authorized service centers, which will also have more spares on hand, noted Paolo Ferreri, vice president-customer support for the Americas.
Piaggio hopes the enhanced product-support offerings will jump-start sales of the Evo, its third-generation Avanti. The company delivered three in 2016. North American launch customer West Coast Aviation Services, with five firm orders and four options, is slated to receive its second Evo in December, two more in 2018 and the fifth in 2019.
Among the Evo's features are redesigned landing gear with a 15-year overhaul interval, compared to 12 on older Avantis, including a two-year extension. The new gear, priced comparably to an overhaul, can be retrofitted on older models.
Amid reports that a deal to Piaggio to a Chinese consortium is in the works, executives reiterated that the company is still 100 percent owned by Mubadala Investment.
"We're focused on spotlighting the Evo's advantages—jet-like speed and cabin size with turboprop efficiency—and supporting our growing customer base," Hissam said. "We're going to be here."