Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair has been steadily building its operation and is taking delivery of the twin turboprops as fast as Piaggio can make them. Next year it will expand its fleet in a different direction with the addition of entry-level Phenom 100 twinjets. We sat down with Avantair founder and CEO Steve Santo for an update on the company and to find out what his plans are for the new fleet type.
Notwithstanding the weak economy, Piaggio delivered 14 Avantis last year, two more than in 2001 and eight more than in 2000, when the reorganized Italian company resumed production and marketing of the twin turboprop. Although the total number of Avanti deliveries over the last three years is modest compared with those of other aircraft manufacturers, Piaggio’s growth rate is enviable in terms of percentage.
Piaggio America of Greenville, S.C., has signed a deal for nine Avanti twin turboprops for a new fractional operation by Calgary, Alberta, Canada startup Avia Aviation. The contract includes a firm order for three Avantis, with options for six more. This is Piaggio’s second order from a fractional operator. The first was from Skyline Aviation at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y., for six Avantis, with an option for two more.
Piaggio Avanti, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., March 20, 2007–The left landing gear of the Avantair Avanti collapsed on landing at Hollywood International Airport. The left tire blew out and separated from its rim. No one was injured but the airplane was substantially damaged.
In its first-quarter FY2008 report issued in mid-November, Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair said revenues increased 52.9 percent, to $25.7 million, year-over-year, but its quarterly net loss increased to $4.8 million from $3.8 million the previous year.
While no manufacturers actually launched new aircraft at the NBAA Convention last month, several did commit to major improvements for their existing products. Notably, Cessna, Piaggio and Bombardier announced extensive upgrades–involving newer or more powerful engines, avionics and/or interior makeovers–for their CJ1 and CJ2, Avanti and Learjet 40 business airplanes, respectively.
Avantair, which operates a fractional ownership fleet of Piaggio Avanti twin turboprops, signed its 100th customer last month. Phil Satre, chairman of the board of Harrah’s Entertainment, purchased a one-eighth share. Avantair, established two years ago, has offices in Caldwell, N.J., Reno, Nev. and St. Petersburg, Fla.
In its first-quarter FY2008 report issued late last week, Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair said revenues increased by 52.9 percent, to $25.7 million, year-over-year, but its quarterly net loss increased to $4.8 million from $3.8 million a year ago.
Piaggio Aero Industries delivered 16 Avantis last year, up from 12 in 2001 and six in 2000. The production rate is set at 20 aircraft this year and 26 for next year. Revenues rose by 11 percent to $203 million last year.
When Steven Santo announced the creation of a fractional ownership program with an aircraft fleet consisting solely of Italian-built Avanti turboprop twins, some reacted to the news with skepticism. The economy was entering a recession, they said, and the airplane itself had never sold well.
Now the skeptics are silent, and Santo typically shows up for work with the smile of a man well satisfied with his lot in life.