Piaggio Aero Industries, manufacturer of the Avanti turboprop twin, says it will develop a business jet. The Italian airframer is considering which of two designs to develop, but must first reach agreement with a “strategic partner” to make the project a reality. “The concept is almost frozen.
Transport in Italy
Piaggio Aero Industries is preparing to launch a new jet program before the end of this year and is debating which of two designs to develop. On April 19, the Italian firm laid the financial foundations for the anticipated product launch when it announced that Mubadala Development, an investment company owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, is purchasing a 35-percent stake in its business.
Almost 20 years since the P180 Avanti made its first flight in August 1986, the eye-catching twin pusherprop at last seems to have established itself in the business aviation community. Piaggio acknowledges that the radical new design arrived in the marketplace at the wrong time in the early 1990s and its slow initial sales almost killed off the company.
The first delivered Piaggio Aero P180 Avanti II will be covered by Jet Support Services, Inc.’s (JSSI) Tip-to-Tail hourly maintenance cost program. The twin pusherprop has been operated by Swiss company Fly Wings. The Tip-to-Toe package, which covers both the airframe and the Avanti II’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-66 engines, is jointly offered by JSSI (Booth No. 221) and Piaggio Aero (Booth No. 1644).
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.
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.