Avantair Opens New Ops Center in Clearwater
Fractional provider Avantair, which operates only Piaggio Avanti turboprop twins, opened a new operations center at its headquarters at Clearwater/St. Petersburg (Fla.) Airport early last month. The facility–which features three 200-inch screens to track aircraft 24/7 and monitor weather and breaking news–now serves as mission control for all Avantair flights. Specialized crews of pilot services, maintenance controllers, flight specialists and flight followers sit in stadium- like seating facing the screens. According to Avantair CEO Steve Santo, operations personnel also started using new, real-time optimization software about two months ago and have seen efficiency gains of between 5 and 10 percent, thanks to fewer deadhead flights and less outsourced charter. Avantair currently has 55 Avanti and Avanti II twin turboprops in its fleet.