Piaggio Aero (Booth D11) has appointed CAEA Aviation Investment Co. as its exclusive sales agent in China. The Italian manufacturer also has announced CAEA’s first sale here at the Singapore Airshow, comprising two P180 Avanti II turboprops, to an unnamed customer.
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.
Van Nuys, Calif.-based Elite Aviation has partnered with Piaggio Aero to expand Piaggio Avanti II sales on the U.S. West Coast. Under the agreement Elite will handle Avanti II sales in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. “The move into sales is a logical extension for Elite Aviation,” the company said.
Piaggio Aero Industries apparently will enter the business-jet market only if it can line up an existing major aircraft manufacturer as a risk-sharing partner in the long-awaited program. Majority shareholder Mubadala has identified Dassault, Gulfstream and Cessna as prospective partners for a Piaggio jet, according to Homaid Al Shemmari, executive director of the Abu Dhabi group’s aerospace unit.
Piaggio Aero has appointed Waterford, Mich.-based Pentastar Aviation a non-exclusive authorized service center. The agreement allows the MRO to provide maintenance services and support for the Piaggio Avanti II. The company, which also has a Van Nuys, Calif. operation, will act as a Piaggio Aero sales center in the upper Midwest.
Piaggio Aero broke ground on June 15 for its new production plant in Villanova D’Albenga, Italy. Piaggio plans to move Avanti II parts and subassembly manufacture and engine manufacturing and MRO operations from its current plant in Finale Ligure to the new facility, with operations scheduled to begin in 2013. Avanti II final assembly will remain at the factory in Genova Sestri Ponente.
New Piaggio Aero general manager Eligio Trombetta was in bullish form at EBACE this week as he outlined plans for the new P1XX jet, the next aircraft to join the Italian airframer’s stable. And it seems that the new model will be more of a step up from the existing P.180 Avanti than some had imagined. “The P1XX ideally will go beyond Europe,” he said.
AIN senior editor Kirby Harrison spoke with Piaggio America president and CEO John Bingham about the business aircraft market, as well as the company’s future plans for the Avanti II turboprop twin and the P1XX jet program.
Before the recession truly made its presence felt, Italian OEM Piaggio Aero recognized its impending arrival and adjusted production rates accordingly, said Piaggio America president and CEO John Bingham. “What we were able to do was recognize it early enough to reposition in terms of manufacturing and market access.”
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