Piper Aircraft Company announced at the Singapore Airshow 2018 a firm order from its exclusive China dealer, Fanmei Aviation Technologies (FAT), for 152 aircraft, representing the largest individual trainer order in the manufacturer’s history. The order comprises 100 Archer TX single-engine trainers, 50 twin-engine Seminoles, one twin-engine Seneca and one single-engine Piper M350. Deliveries, beginning in March, will be made over the next seven years, with the first aircraft going to the Fanmei Flight School in Sichuan province.
“The agreement and cooperation with Piper Aircraft is the key element for our general aviation roadmap,” said Don Li, president of FAT, a subsidiary of Sichuan Fanmei Education Group, a major provider of aviation education in China. “Everything else was already in place, including a quality training program with committed staff and outstanding facilities, and now we have added to our fleet, in my opinion, the premier training aircraft in the world.”
Simon Caldecott, president and CEO of Vero Beach, Florida-based Piper Aircraft, called the order “a wonderful opportunity for both organizations, as we work collectively to help address the global pilot shortage.”
Piper (Stand Q77, in the USA Partnership Pavilion) is also debuting its flagship M600 single-engine turboprop in Singapore, but is basing the aircraft at the Wings Over Asia (WOA) FBO at Seletar Airport during the show to facilitate customer demonstration flights. The aircraft was flown to Singapore at an average speed of 271 knots in 45 hours over five days by Yeow Meng Ng, founder of WOA, which is Piper's Singapore sales agent. From here, the M600 will embark on a three-month tour of Pacific Rim countries including Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
Ron Gunnarson, Piper’s vice president of sales, marketing and customer support, called the six-seat M600 “ideally suited to the Pacific Rim region, given its performance, range and comfortable cabin,” able to reach destinations including Hong Kong, Manila, and Northwest Australia from Singapore “at a fraction of typical operating costs, and over $1M less than its closest competitor.”
With global markets responding to its products, Piper reported here a 30 percent increase in deliveries and a 27 percent increase in total billings in 2017. The growth was driven by a 58 percent year-over-year increase of Piper single-engine primary-trainer aircraft deliveries as well as an 80 percent increase in deliveries of multi-engine trainers. Additionally, sales of Piper’s M600 expanded by 71 percent, which helped boost Piper’s total billings by nearly US$41 million year-over-year. International deliveries of Piper products grew 5 percent, with fully 25 percent of Piper aircraft now being shipped to countries outside of North America.