Piaggio Avanti Frax Operator Targets Former Jet Customers

One truism holds, there will always be those who can take advantage of a down market. Fractional-share provider Avantair, based in Clearwater, Florida, is pressing that advantage, luring former jet customers to its Piaggio Avanti and Avanti II twin turboprops. With a current fleet of 53 of the unique pusher twins, Avantair expects to take delivery of a half dozen more by the end of this year to keep up with demand. Company CEO Steven Santo attributes some 80 percent of his growth to former jet customers looking for lower-priced lift. He also points to the Avanti's large cabin-comparable to many midsize jets-and cruise speed of better than 400 knots; all on significantly lower fuel burn. Santo reports revenues up more than 15 percent for the first quarter of this year. Avantair is pressing its advantage yet further with the introduction of its Axis Club, promising even lower costs for new members flying with the company.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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