Piaggio Aerospace is hoping to increase the small inventory of P180 Avantis in use in the Middle East, with the appointment of Al Saif Trading Establishment as sales and marketing agent for the twin-engined turboprop in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Al Saif, headquartered in Riyadh, is a subsidiary of real estate and consultancy firm Al Saif Group, which has an order for two Avanti Evos – the latest iteration of the seven-seat type.
Al Saif’s first Evo is scheduled for delivery in September and will be used for ad hoc charter services and customer demonstration flights, says Piaggio. The second will be configured for air ambulance missions, and is slated for service entry in 2017.
Piaggio chief executive Carlo Logli describes the agreement as “an important strategic milestone” for the Italian airframer. “We are entering a very promising region of the world in partnership with a highly renowned company,” he says. “This collaboration offers us new opportunities in that region.”
Piaggio has so far failed to make significant inroads into the Middle East with the Avanti, due largely to the territory’s predilection for business jets – typically high-end models such as long-range Gulfstream types and VIP airliners.
Flight Fleets Analyzer records an installed base of two Avanti IIs – both based in the United Arab Emirates – out of a global fleet of 219 aircraft.
Despite the low take-up of the twin-pusher in the Middle East, Al Saif Group president and chief executive Mohammed Khalifa Al Saif is confident the Evo will find success in the region. “The Evo is extremely effective, since it delivers the performance figures of a light jet with very low fuel emissions,” he says. “It is the perfect combination of lavish Italian style, comfort and best-in-class operational performance, with an excellent cost-benefit ratio.”
The Evo entered service in 2015 as an upgraded and higher performance version of the 11-year-old Avanti II. To date, four units have been delivered, and Piaggio says a further six will be handed over in 2016.