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.
Piaggio Aero Industries, which emerged from bankruptcy five years ago and has gradually stopped bleeding red ink, last month received a record order valued at approximately $200 million for 29 Avanti turboprop twins, including the conversion of five options to firm orders from an earlier acquisition by the same buyer.
Aero Precision Repair and Overhaul (A-Pro) of Deerfield Beach, Fla., will begin overhaul and repair services on the Piaggio Avanti landing gear and related accessories. The company received approvals from Piaggio and Messier Dowty, the manufacturer of the landing gear.
Italian aircraft manufacturer Piaggio Aero (Booth No. 3717) yesterday celebrated a milestone agreement with the sale of 22 Avanti II twin turboprops to U.S. fractional operator Avantair.
Even as Italian manufacturer Piaggio Aero Industries reaps the benefits of a remarkable sales resurgence in the U.S., the company increasingly views its own backyard as fertile soil for future growth.
For its sleek Avanti II, Piaggio reports a two-year backlog valued at more than $600 million. That’s the good news. The bad news is that despite efforts to increase production, the Italian manufacturer shows little sign of putting a credible dent in that backlog in the near future.
Piaggio Avanti, Teterboro, N.J., June 17, 2007 – The pilot of a fractional Avanti, cleared to take off from Runway 24 at Teterboro Airport, averted a collision with a Cirrus SR22, cleared to take off on the intersecting Runway 19, when the Avanti pilot saw the Cirrus taking off and on an apparent collision course.