Forecast International, a provider of market intelligence, has been engaged by a “world-ranked aircraft manufacturer” to evaluate the market for a new business jet. In the online survey, an artist’s concept depicts a light/medium twinjet with a remarkable resemblance to the Avanti II turboprop twin from Italian aircraft manufacturer Piaggio.
Avantair, the Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional that operates Piaggio Avantis exclusively, reported an 85-percent increase in Q2 revenue over the same period a year earlier. Sluggish deliveries from Piaggio contributed to an overall loss, though the company does expect to break even upon reaching 40 aircraft in service. If current estimates hold, that will happen by the end of this year.
Piaggio Avanti, Eagle, Colo., Jan. 15, 2007–Landing at Eagle County Regional Airport, the ATP-certified pilot of Piaggio N17PA reduced power, but before going into reverse, the airplane swerved. The pilot applied rudder, but the right tire blew out and he lost directional control. The Avanti veered off the right side of the runway and hit a snow bank, crushing the left wingtip and fracturing the canard surface.
At press time, nothing was said to be finalized, but Rockwell Collins and Piaggio were working on a deal to offer Pro Line avionics in the Avanti, according to a spokesman for the Italian airframer. The turboprop twin currently has older Collins avionics.
Piaggio America recently moved its North American headquarters into the Jet Aviation facility overlooking the ramp at West Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), Fla. According to Piaggio America president Tom Appleton, the company moved to PBI from its Greenville, S.C. facility in response to recent company growth. The move increased office-space capacity by more than 30 percent and also has made more hangar space available.
Avantair is offering a limited-time incentive to new buyers of Piaggio Avanti fractional shares. Customers who sign on the dotted line before March 20 are eligible to win a college basketball championship game day package consisting of round-trip travel aboard an Avanti and four tickets to the big game in Atlanta on April 2.
Avantair, the fractional operator flying an all-Piaggio Avanti fleet, took delivery last month of its 16th copy of the Italian-built twin-turboprop pusher. The Fairfield, N.J., company said it will continue to receive one Avanti per month through 2007, which will bring the planned fleet to nearly 50 aircraft by the end of that year. At press time the number of Avantair share-owners stood at 132.
Piaggio Aero Industries, manufacturer of the Avanti turboprop twin, says it will develop a business jet. The Italian airframer is considering which of two designs to develop, but must first reach agreement with a “strategic partner” to make the project a reality. “The concept is almost frozen.
Piaggio Aero Industries is preparing to launch a new jet program before the end of this year and is debating which of two designs to develop. On April 19, the Italian firm laid the financial foundations for the anticipated product launch when it announced that Mubadala Development, an investment company owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, is purchasing a 35-percent stake in its business.
Almost 20 years since the P180 Avanti made its first flight in August 1986, the eye-catching twin pusherprop at last seems to have established itself in the business aviation community. Piaggio acknowledges that the radical new design arrived in the marketplace at the wrong time in the early 1990s and its slow initial sales almost killed off the company.