Lawsuits, Liens Holding Back Avantair Resurrection
As prospects dim for Avantair, the Clearwater, Fla.-based Piaggio Avanti turboprop fractional ownership program, concerns about its future are taking a back seat to questions about how owners will recover their aircraft. Among recent developments:
• An FAA Special Emphasis Investigations Team has visited longtime Avantair maintenance provider Teterboro Rams to gather information related to the fractional provider, according to co-owner Dennis Espinosa. (The FAA declined comment.) Rams has filed liens in Bergen County Court in New Jersey on four Avantair aircraft in its possession and plans to auction them for unpaid maintenance work.
• At least two more lawsuits have been filed against Avantair in the past week: shareowner Gary West’s suit, filed in the Dallas Division of U.S. District Court, seeks return of his aircraft (N139SL) and alleges, among other charges, the company has cannibalized parts from owners’ aircraft. A class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa by Mary Peterson and Scott Piwinski on behalf of former employees claims the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to provide notification of termination or pay employees for work.
• Avantair president David Haslett has said in emails to owners that he “formally resigned” on or about July 8 but that “the Board has retained me to consult for them on certain projects and a restructuring.” Yesterday an 8-K form regarding Haslett’s resignation was filed with the SEC. Haslett has not responded to AIN’s request for comment or clarification.