Piaggio declares itself insolvent


Piaggio P180 Avanti (credit Paul Cordwell)

Piaggio, the Italian manufacturer of the Avanti series of turboprop business aircraft, has declared itself insolvent and has asked to go into receivership.

The firm had faced a tough sales environment for its turboprop range recently, only selling a handful of aircraft per year. In May the company said that it had taken in four orders so far in 2018.

According to reports in the Italian press, the company has debts totaling $497 million.

Piaggio’s owner, the UAE state-owned holding company, assumed full control of the company in 2015, after taking an initial 35% stake in the company in 2006.

Mubadala had approved a turnaround plan for Piaggio in 2017 and injected a further $308 million into the company.

Plans were underway to fully develop an unmanned version of its Avanti turboprop called the Hammer Head to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions remotely.

The HammerHead prototype flew for the first time in 2013, with the first six aircraft originally due to be handed over to launch customer the Government of the UAE before the end of 2018.

Piaggio said earlier in the year that it was already working on an updated version of the HammerHead, with an expected entry into service in 2023.

It is the second time that Piaggio has entered bankruptcy. The first time was in 1998, but the brand was rescued by a consortium of investors that included the Ferrari family.

The original Avanti was certificated two years later. By the end of October 2018, the company had delivered a total of 236 aircraft, including all Avanti variants.