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.
Piaggio P.180 Avanti
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.”
Abu Dhabi Autonomous System Investments (ADASI) signed a contract with Piaggio Aero today at the Farnborough Airshow for the Piaggio Aero MPA (multi-role patrol aircraft), a new special-missions surveillance aircraft based on the P.180 Avanti II. The agreement calls for aircraft launch customer ADASI to provide financing for Piaggio to build two prototypes. First flight is scheduled for 2014.
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.
Coming off its first two airplane sales in China, announced last month, Italian manufacturer Piaggio Aero is eager to prove here at the ABACE show that those two P.180 Avanti IIs represent just the opening of the door into the Chinese business aviation market.
Earlier this month a BeechJet 400A left Fort Lauderdale’s Banyan Air Service for Argentina outfitted with the Thrane & Thrane Aviator 200 Swift Broadband system. “About half our customer base is in South America, and that market is about to explode,” Brian Wilson, Banyan’s director of avionics, told AIN.
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.
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.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has certified Piaggio Aero’s P.180 Avanti and Avanti II, the Italy-based airframer announced at NBAA 2011 in Las Vegas. The type certification confirms that the aircraft comply with Chinese regulations and can now be registered and operated in the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong.