Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair closed on $2.8 million in new funding yesterday via the issuance of senior secured convertible notes. The notes have a three-year term and an interest rate of 2 percent. In addition, the company restructured its existing aircraft financing arrangements with Midsouth Services, reducing its monthly lease payments by more than $1.8 million during the next 15 months and extending the maturities on two aircraft.
Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair restarted operations on November 9, following a nearly three-week voluntary grounding of its approximately 60 Piaggio Avantis. The voluntary grounding was precipitated by a July 28 incident in which an Avantair-operated Avanti shed an elevator in flight and flew two subsequent legs before the crew noticed that the control surface was missing. “The Piaggio continued to fly normally for a few reasons, including its dual elevators, forward canards and high wings,” according to Avantair CEO Steve Santo.
St. Petersburg, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair restarted operations on Friday following a nearly three-week voluntary grounding of its approximately 60 Piaggio Avantis. “We’re back and flying, and are covering all our trips now,” Avantair CEO Steve Santo told AIN yesterday.
Fractional provider Avantair continues to stand down operations and has retained safety expert Nick Sabatini to help complete a thorough examination of its fleet of about 60 Piaggio Avantis, including a comprehensive review of records and supporting maintenance documentation. It has also furloughed all of its pilots and operations staff.
The voluntary fleet grounding at Avantair apparently is continuing into its sixth day. Avantair told AIN earlier this week that it stood down its entire fleet of about 60 Piaggio Avantis on Saturday to conduct safety checks. According to sources, the action was prompted by a July 28 incident in which an Avantair Avanti shed an elevator in flight.
On Saturday, fractional provider Avantair grounded its entire fleet of about 60 Piaggio Avanti twin turboprops to conduct “a comprehensive examination of all maintenance records and aircraft.”
Clearwater, Fla.-based Avantair announced on Tuesday that its entire fleet of fractional Piaggio Avantis will soon feature airborne high-speed Internet. The company is now installing Aircell ATG 5000 communications systems in its twin-turboprop fleet and expects to complete the work this summer. The ATG 5000 covers the continental U.S. above 10,000 feet and portions of Alaska, providing broadband connection via a nationwide network of ground stations.
Two Avantair pilots and two passengers suffered only minor injuries when their Piaggio Avanti P.180 went off the west side of Runway 18 and flipped over while landing at Flint (Mich.) Bishop International Airport last Wednesday.
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.
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.