At NBAA-BACE 2019, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 22-24 October, Vincenzo Nicastro, the extraordinary commissioner of Piaggio Aerospace, announced that the company was looking for a new owner. The Italian aircraft manufacturer has a total order intake worth US$930m (€838m), and is just waiting for formal clearance from the Italian government to publish the public tender notice, which is due “shortly”.
Piaggio Aerospace went under extraordinary receivership in December 2018. In the last nine months it has signed fixed orders for a total value close to US$300m (€270m), mainly in its Engine and Customer Support business units. The company says new contracts – for a total of US$630m (€568m) – are due to arrive by the end of 2019.
“Piaggio has never had an order intake of such an amount during its recent history,” said Nicastro. “With the signing of more contracts in the upcoming weeks, we shall be closer to bringing back the company to full operation. I can now state that we have reached our goal of making Piaggio Aerospace strong enough to seek a new owner: both the aerospace industry and our existing clients can be reassured that Piaggio Aerospace will be in the market for the long haul.”
Nicastro has also announced the signing of an agreement with Sheikh Khalifa Al Saif, chairman of Al Saif Aviation, for the purchase of at least 10 Avanti Evo, the first of which is scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2020. According to the partnership, Al Saif Aviation will also act as an agent and distributor in the Middle East, North Africa and some key territories in Europe, with the goal of promoting and marketing the Avanti Evo in the EMEA region. Al Saif Aviation, which bought its first Avanti Evo in 2016, is part of Al Saif Trading, a group based in Saudi Arabia. The company also operates offices in Dubai, UAE, and London, UK, and is specialised in aircraft trading and consultancy.
“I confirm my commitment to the Avanti Evo, since it represents the best executive aircraft in the market, with its jet performance at turboprop costs and the widest cabin in its category,” said Al Saif. “I have always appreciated, as a business traveller, the Avanti Evo, with its modern aerodynamic shape and its unique three lifting surfaces concept. Now that we see that Piaggio Aerospace is back on track, we are happy to strengthen our partnership and to commit ourselves in a long-term investment. We are extremely confident of a very successful future.”
“Al Saif has been Piaggio Aerospace’s valuable customer and partner for a long time, and we are extremely grateful to him for the renewed trust in the company,” said Andrea Di Fede, head of sales at Piaggio Aerospace. “We are sure that with such an agreement, Piaggio Aerospace will be able to give a new boost to the sales of the Avanti Evo.”
With the objective of strengthening the commercial network, two more agents have been appointed. After the delivery of an Avanti Evo in Uganda last May, Piaggio Aerospace has just signed an agreement with Acass Canada – a group of companies active in business aviation services headquartered in Montreal, Canada. Acass Canada will now act as non-exclusive agent for Piaggio Aerospace in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Indonesia. Meanwhile Infraestucturas Aeroportuarias, a company based in Madrid, Spain, will represent Piaggio Aerospace in Spain, Morocco and Poland.
Piaggio Aerospace also says previously secured contracts with the Italian government entities are close to being signed. By the end of 2019, new orders are to be finalised with the Italian Armed Forces for the acquisition of nine new Avanti Evo, the retrofit of 19 Avanti and Avanti II and the relevant Integrated Logistic Support, for a total value of US$290m (€262m). In the meantime, the Engine business unit is closing new contracts worth approximately US$139m (€125m). Finally, in the upcoming weeks the Italian parliament is due to ratify an already allocated US$178m (€160m) investment for the unmanned aerial system P.1HH. Part of the investment will be needed to finalise the development process and part will be for the sale to the Italian Air Force of one system (two aircraft and one control ground station).