Piaggio Aero P. 180 Avanti II: Are Turboprops The Answer In A Tough Small Plane Market?
It's been a tough year for small private plane companies with layoffs and plant closures but not everyone is floundering. Piaggio Aero, makers of the P. 180 Avanti II have announced the addition of three new service centers in Ft. Lauderdale, Toronto and Montreal. The announcement came one month after Piaggio's expansion with West Star Aviation at its East Alton, Ill. facility. Since 2008, the Piaggio Aero brand has doubled its North American service network. The success of the P. 180 Avanti II is a combination of its sleek Italian styling (Piaggio Aero Industries' Chairman, Piero Ferrari, son of Enzo Ferrari, is also vice Chairman of Ferrari S.p.A.) and its fuel efficiency. The plane is the fastest turboprop aircraft combine the speed of a light cabin jet with the cabin of a mid-size craft that can hold nine people. It can hit cruising speeds of more than 402 ktas. but requires a third less fuel than most business jets. The new service centers are now open with more planned for 2010.
Gallery: Piaggio Aero P180 Avanti II