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.”
Italian turboprop manufacturer Piaggio Aero, which recently announced its entry into the Brazilian market, plans to bring its business to Russia as well. The company is seeking Russian certification for its popular P.180 Avanti II twin-engine turboprop, which it expects to begin delivering in the country by April or May of next year.
According to an industry source, Piaggio will announce more improvements for the P.180 Avanti twin turboprop before year-end. While the source wouldn’t discuss more details, one of the most obvious areas that Piaggio has yet to address is the Avanti’s unmistakable whine, which has led to its being the only modern turboprop banned under noise restrictions at Santa Monica (Calif.) Airport.
Fractional provider Avantair, which operates only Piaggio Avanti turboprop twins, officially opened its newly renovated operations center at its headquarters at Clearwater/St. Petersburg (Fla.) Airport this morning. The facility–which features three 200-inch screens to track aircraft 24/7 and monitor weather and breaking news–now serves as mission control for all Avantair flights.
It’s no secret that Piaggio Aero has been working on developing a jet, and this work has accelerated with the support of shareholders Tata and Mubadala. According to John Bingham, president and CEO of Piaggio America and chief marketing officer for Piaggio Aero, development of the P1XX jet is ongoing and the recession has allowed Piaggio Aero to hire some new talent to help bring the program to fruition.
Piaggio Aero (Booth No. 1325) took a bold stance during the recession to broaden worldwide recognition of its P180 Avanti II twin turboprop, according to John Bingham, president and CEO of Piaggio America and chief marketing officer for Piaggio Aero. “It paid off for us,” Bingham told AIN. Potential buyers who might not have considered purchasing an Avanti have added the turboprop to their shopping lists, he said.
Avantair continues to take deliveries of new Avanti II turboprop twins and expects to more than double the size of its all-Avanti fleet over the next three years from 52 to 107 aircraft, the Clearwater, Fla.-based company said. Meanwhile, its aircraft card program continues to grow, with first-quarter sales reportedly increasing 183 percent from year-ago levels.
Fractional provider Avantair reported revenues of $35.8 million for its fiscal year 2010 second quarter, which ended December 31. It recorded operating income of $1.4 million, versus an operating loss of $628,000 in the year-ago period, and earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization stood at $2.8 million.
Dubai Airshow shoppers looking to buy an aircraft made by a locally owned company need look no further than the Piaggio Avanti II. The eye-catching twin turbo-prop exudes the Italian style of its origins but Piaggio Aero Industries itself is exhibiting here under the auspices of its one-third shareholder Mubadala Development Co. of Abu Dhabi (Stand C510).
As the larger fractional ownership operations lay off employees and/or reduce aircraft delivery rates, Clearwater, Fla.-based Avantair is watching its fleet of 53 Avantis and Avanti IIs grow as quickly as Italian manufacturer Piaggio can deliver them, with six more due before year-end.