Bob Pond, who owns the first production Piaggio P.180 Avanti, has ordered a new Avanti II to replace it. He plans to add the superseded airplane to the 25-plus aircraft in the Palm Springs Air Museum in California, which he founded in 1996 after retiring as CEO of Advance Machine Co.
Mudabala Development, an investment company owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, is considering playing an industrial role within Piaggio Aero (Booth No. 1644) after it recently acquired a 35-percent stake in the Italian-based company. Here at a Piaggio press conference yesterday, a board member from Mudabala insisted he is seeking more than just a financial return on investment.
Mubadala Development, an investment company owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, has acquired 35 percent of Italy’s Piaggio Aero, manufacturer of the Avanti II turboprop twin. “The transaction is founded on a shared belief by the two parties that the business aviation segment will continue to expand significantly over the foreseeable future,” Piaggio officials said.
Piaggio shipped only three Avantis in the first nine months of this year, hardly enough to keep up with demand, particularly from one of the OEM’s largest single customers, fractional provider Avantair. Lack of new Avantis is the primary reason that Avantair will record a loss of nearly $21 million this year, according to a recent SEC filing by the company’s new owner, Ardent Acquisition.
Landmark Aviation and Avantair announced a five-year maintenance service agreement for Landmark to provide service, including heavy maintenance inspections, for the fractional carrier’s fleet of Piaggio Avantis. The value of the contract is $5 million over five years and couldincrease if additional aircraft are serviced.
Piaggio Aero Industries chief executive Josè DiMase yesterday confirmed industry speculation that the Italian manufacturer is indeed developing a business jet, revealing that the new airplane would be larger and have a longer range than the company’s sleek Avanti II turboprop.
Arinc Direct’s FAA Part 145 certified repair station at the Scottsdale, Ariz. airport is now a factory authorized service center for the Piaggio Avanti and Avanti II. Arinc Direct Scottsdale becomes only the second Part 145 repair center in the U.S. to earn the Piaggio factory service authorization, according to Piaggio. Arinc Direct is at NBAA’06 Booth No. 758 with details on its services and capabilities.
Italy’s Piaggio Aero Industries, builder of the Avanti II turboprop twin, last month signed an agreement with Pratt & Whitney Canada to acquire 25 percent of its Turbo Engines Corp., which produces the PW206 and PW207 rotorcraft engines. These engines power Agusta, Bell, Eurocopter and MD helicopters.
The Avanti II won EASA certification in October, and delivery of the first new-version aircraft was scheduled for shortly after the Dubai Air Show (November 20 to 24) to an unidentified Swiss customer.
Although Piaggio named two new completion centers for the Avanti at the NBAA Convention last month, Tom Appleton, president and CEO of Piaggio America, told AIN at press time that the announcement was “premature” and the companies are still working out the details.