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Airbus stepped into the bizliner market in 1997 with their Airbus Corporate Jet, an executive segment of its A319 airline. In 2017, the company eased its naming system and renamed the three iconic bizliners as the ACJ 318, ACJ 320 and ACJ 319. The company offers executive segments of A330, A340, A350 and A380 for the VVIPs, government officers and other customers who demand extra space during long-distance journeys.
Airbus is a European multinational aerospace conglomerate headquartered in Toulouse, France. The company traces its roots to the formation of the Airbus Industrie GIE consortium in 1970 and is the result of decades of European aerospace consolidation efforts designed to compete with American defense and aerospace monoliths.
The company launched its first passenger jet, the A300, in 1972. The A300 was a revolutionary aircraft; it was not only the world’s first widebody twin-engine passenger jet but also marked the initial offering from what would become Europe’s largest aerospace and defense company.
The years following the launch of the A300 program were marked by intensive consolidation and further aircraft development, with the release of the A300B2 (1974), the Tornado multi-role combat jet (1974), the A310 (1982), and the ubiquitous A320 family of jets (1987). In 1991, Airbus launched the ultra-long-range A340 four-engine passenger jet, and the A330 followed in 1992. Additional fixed-wing developments in the 1990s included the launch of the A300-600 Beluga transporter (1994), the first flight of the Eurofighter (1994), the standing-up of Airbus Industrie’s Large Aircraft Division and development of the A3XX (1996), and the first flight of the C295 (1997).
Airbus forayed into the corporate jet market in 1997 with the release of the A319 Corporate Jet. The A320 family was an easy first choice for the development of a VIP transport aircraft, but offerings across the Airbus product line have emerged over the decades. As of 2020, the Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) business unit offers the ACJ TwoTwenty, ACJ319neo, ACJ320neo, ACJ330neo, and ACJ350 XWB. ACJ330 and ACJ320 aircraft are now exclusively offered with the New Engine Option (neo), which provides customers with a choice between the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G and CFM International LEAP-1A engines.
Airbus has delivered close to 13,000 aircraft since the launch of the A300. The company maintains roughly 180 global locations and employs just under 135,000 people worldwide.Airbus Aircraft Specs & NewsFounded: 1992HQ: Marignane, FranceTop Executive: Bruno Even (CEO)Employees: 20,000Phone: +33 (0)4 42 85 85 85WebsiteAirbus Helicopters
Airbus Helicopters is the rotorcraft wing of Airbus, Europe’s largest aerospace and defense conglomerate. The company was founded in 1992 as Eurocopter Group, after a merger between the helicopter divisions of Aérospatiale and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA).
Airbus Helicopters has been a pioneer in rotorcraft development for decades. Legacy company Aérospatiale developed the world’s first turboshaft-powered helicopter in 1955, the Alouette II, as well as the “Fenestron” shrouded tail rotor design, which debuted on the Gazelle in 1968. In both civil and military applications, Airbus helicopters have proven to be best sellers with a reputation for ruggedness and durability. They sport features such as full flight capabilities in icing conditions and fly-by-light digital flight controls. Airbus helicopter variants have also accomplished high-profile feats never attempted by other rotorcraft, such as the 2005 landing of an AS350 B3 at the peak of Mt. Everest.
Eurocopter was officially rebranded as Airbus Helicopters in 2014, after 22 years of operation as Eurocopter SA and Eurocopter SAS. Rotorcraft names were changed across the board, with each receiving a new numerical designation with an “H” prefix.
The Airbus Helicopters product line includes entries in the intermediate-single segment (H125 and H130), light-twin segment (H135, H145), medium and super-medium segments (H155, H160, H175), and heavy segment (H215, H225). In 2017, Airbus Helicopters announced the launch of the Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH) business unit, a luxury corporate helicopter development wing mirrored after the successful Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ) model. ACH offers up-market VIP variants of the H125, H130, H135, H145, H160, and H175, positioning an offering in every segment from intermediate single to super-medium. Cabin configurations and design characteristics are customizable to consumer preference, and most feature extended ranges over their base-model counterparts.
Airbus Helicopters employs roughly 20,000 people worldwide and is headquartered at the Marseille Provence Airport in Marignane, France.Airbus Helicopters Aircraft Specs & News[Image: Beechcraft KingAir 350i]
- BOEING BUSINESS JETS
Boeing Business Jets got fame with its BBJ, which consist of the 737-700 series airframe with landing gear, the wing of the larger 737-800 series. Another version of the BBJ2 has 25 per cent more cabin space and its big brother the BBJ3 is inspired by the 737-900ER. Each and every Boeing jets, from the 737 to the latest 747-8 and the 787 are now available in VIP versions. Boeing dispatched its first 747-8 VIP in February.
The Boeing Company is an American multinational defense and aerospace manufacturing organization and is one of the largest defense contractors in the world based on dollar value. It maintains offerings across the aerospace realm, manufacturing aircraft, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites, and communications equipment for both civilian and military clients.
Lumber industrialist William Boeing founded the company in 1916 in Seattle. Originally named the Pacific Aero Products Co., it designed its first aircraft in the same year: the B&W Seaplane (named for its joint development by Boeing and Conrad Westervelt). The company was renamed Boeing Airplane Company in 1917 and Boeing Airplane & Transport Corporation in 1928.
By the close of the 1920s, Boeing had found success in the aerospace market and acquired several aircraft makers, such as Sikorsky Aviation, Pratt & Whitney, Avion, Chance Vought, and Hamilton Metalplane. Following these acquisitions, Boeing Airplane & Transport Corporation became United Airplane & Transport Corporation. The venture lasted until 1934 when regulatory mandates forced the separation of air transport and aircraft manufacturing. Three major groups emerged from the disbanding of the United Airplane & Transport Corporation: Boeing Airplane Company, United Aircraft, and United Airlines. United Aircraft would eventually become United Technologies.
Boeing became one of the largest aerospace companies in the world after its merger with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. In 2018, Boeing completed its largest acquisition since 1997, with a $4.25 billion purchase of aerospace parts distributor KLX Inc.
Boeing’s civil aircraft offerings include the 737, 747, 767, 777, and 787. The 737 has been a bestseller since its first flight in 1967, with more than 10,500 deliveries to date. The company’s civilian aircraft division, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, also produces the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) series. Narrowbody models of the BBJ are based on variants of the 737, while widebody models include offerings based on the 747, 777, and 787 platforms. These aircraft compete primarily with the Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ) line.
- BOMBARDIER AEROSPACE
Bombardier started as a snowmobile manufacturing firm in 1942 and has now grown into one of the world’s largest manufacturers of business jets and regional airliner. In the last decade, the company has launched numerous business jets like Learjet 40, Challenger 300 and 605, and Globar 5000 and 6000. The upcoming Learjet 85 will be the first all-composite business jet. In the month of May, the company introduced the Learjet 70 and 75.
A division of Bombardier Aviation (formerly Bombardier Aerospace), owned by Canadian industrial conglomerate Bombardier, Inc., Bombardier Business Aircraft manufacturers and provides ancillary support for Learjets, Challengers, and Globals, spanning the light to ultra-long-range jet categories.
In 1942 Joseph-Armand Bombardier, a Canadian inventor/entrepreneur, established a company to market his “snow vehicle,” or snowmobile. Four decades later, in 1986, Bombardier, Inc. expanded into aerospace, acquiring Canadair, which had developed the Challenger 600 series business jet (which begat Canadair Regional Jets). In 1989, Bombardier bought Northern Ireland’s Short Brothers; in 1990, it acquired the Learjet Corporation, whose midsize Learjet 60 first flew later that year; and in 1992, it purchased a majority stake in De Havilland Aircraft of Canada. The first of its ultra-long-range Global family, the Express, flew in 1996, followed by the Challenger 300 in 2001.
In 2014, amidst parent-company losses, Bombardier Business Aircraft became a Bombardier Aerospace division, as did the conglomerate’s commercial aircraft business. In 2017, Bombardier partnered with Airbus to market its resource-draining C Series commercial jets, and the following year it sold the Q Series commercial turboprop program, and its Business Aircraft Training division, to focus on business aircraft, aerostructures, and other transportation-segment opportunities.
In December 2018 the flagship Global 7500 entered service. More than 4,700 Bombardier business aircraft are now in operation worldwide.
The company’s business jets include Learjets (Lear 70/75 light jets); Challengers (CL350 super-mid, CL650 large cabin); and ultra-long-range Globals (Global 5000, 5500, 6000, 6500, 7500, 8000). (The Global 8000 remains a program of record; its future is unclear.)
Bombardier-owned and -authorized service facilities and mobile response teams provide global assistance from AOG recovery to major repairs, overhauls, and interior refurbishments. The company also buys, takes in trade, and sells preowned Bombardier aircraft.Bombardier Aircraft Specs & News[Image: Cessna Citation XLS]
- CESSNA AIRCRAFT
Cessna started its venture by building its first airplane in 1929 and has since rolled out more than 190,000 aircrafts. Out of 16,000 business jets in the world, Cessna has produced one-third of them. For the growing Asian market, the company will produce ‘The Sovereign’ and ‘The new Latitude’ in China and develop a new jet in collaboration with China’s Avic.
Cessna is now a brand employed by Textron Aviation for a product line that ranges from Citation business jets to Caravan turboprops and single-engine piston airplanes.
When it was established as the Cessna-Roos Company in 1927, cofounder Clyde Cessna had already launched several failed aircraft manufacturing ventures (in partnership with fellow aviation pioneers Walter Beech and Lloyd Stearman, among others). The business began to achieve success only after nephews Dwane and Dwight Wallace bought out Clyde in 1935.
Cessna’s first business jet, the Citation I (Cessna 500), created to compete with the Learjet, first flew 50 years ago, in 1969. A decade later, Citations were the world’s bestselling business jets. In the 1980s, under CEO Russell Meyer, Cessna pioneered aircraft leasing and fleet sales.
In 1985 General Dynamics bought Cessna, which it then sold to current owner Textron in 1992. (General Dynamics bought Gulfstream Aerospace in 1999.) Cessna became a Textron Aviation brand in 2014. (Beechcraft also became a Textron brand that year, and Bell, formerly Bell Helicopter, is now part of Textron, as well.)
Cessna currently sells seven models, ranging from the small-cabin Citation M2 to the soon-to-be-certified super-midsize Citation Longitude, scheduled to enter service this year. The company’s first large-cabin jet, the Citation Hemisphere, is in a holding pattern while issues with the Snecma Silvercrest engines chosen to power the aircraft are addressed. The single-engine Denali and twin-engine SkyCourier turboprops are slated for their first flights this year. Since they entered service in 1973 more than 7,000 Citations have been produced. The Citation X/X+, which ended production last year, held the distinction of being the world’s fastest civilian production aircraft.
- DASSAULT FALCON
Dassault Falcon builds airframes in its factory, which is located in southwest France. Dassault proudly own the Falcon 900 and 2000 families of business jets. The company recently manufactured the 7X tri-jet powered by the latest in fly-by-wire flight control technology and fighter-jet-style sidesticks in the cockpit. The next Falcon is reportedly named as the SMS and will consist of a twin-engine jet. The lower-cost Falcon 2000S will be certified later this year.
Dassault Aviation, a division of France’s Dassault Group, manufactures Falcon business jets, known for their performance efficiency and technically advanced systems, as well as military aircraft, 3D CAD/CAM engineering systems, and ancillary aerospace products.
Founded by aeronautical engineer Maurice Dassault (née Bloch) in 1929, the company had a rich history of military and civil aircraft production before it entered the business aviation market, but it abandoned its first design, 1954’s Méditerranée twinjet, for cost and fuel consumption reasons. Acting on Charles Lindbergh’s recommendation, Pan Am founder Juan Trippe ordered 40 Falcon 20 twinjets, Dassault’s first production business jet, for U.S. distribution, with deliveries commencing in 1965. To provide factory support for its jets, Dassault established what is now Dassault Falcon Service in 1967.
Federal Express launched its delivery service in 1972 with a Falcon 20 fleet, and Dassault and Pan Am jointly formed Falcon Jet Corp. to service and sell Falcons that same year. The Falcon 50, Dassault’s first production trijet and first civil aircraft with a composite control surface (the aileron), was certified in 1979, and the following year Dassault acquired Pan Am’s stake in Falcon Jet Corp. (renamed Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. in the mid-1990s). The 900 trijet series entered service in 1986, and the Falcon 2000 midsize twinjet joined the fleet in 1995, with both aircraft undergoing upgrades under new model designations in the years since.
Using its own CATIA system—now the industry standard—Dassault began designing aircraft exclusively on 3D CAD/CAM computers in 2000. Business aviation revenues exceeded military sales for the first time in 2005.
The ultra-long-range Falcon 7X trijet, the first fly-by-wire business jet, entered service in 2007, and its Enhanced Flight Vision System was certified in 2010. The follow-on, longer-range 8X entered service in 2016. Falcon unveiled a super-midsize Falcon 5X in 2013, but it canceled the program in 2017 due to development problems with the Snecma Silvercrest engines. In 2018, the airframer debuted the derivative Falcon 6X, slated for service entry in 2022.
Dassault’s product line includes the Falcon 2000LXS super-mid twinjet, Falcon 900LX large-cabin trijet, and Falcon 7X and 8X ultra-long-range trijets. The company has service centers and satellite facilities in the U.S., France, Italy, Russia, Brazil, and Africa.
A division of the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, Embraer Executive Aircraft produces business jets spanning the light- to large-cabin categories.
Seeking to expand beyond its civil and military markets, in the mid-1990s Brazil’s Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica (Embraer) embarked on a business jet development program, and in 2000 the airframer introduced the Legacy 600. Based on Embraer’s ERJ 145 regional jet, the Legacy 600 entered service in 2002, and with prospects bright, the company established Embraer Executive Jets (EEJ) in 2005 and introduced the clean-sheet Phenom 100 VLJ and Phenom 300 light jets that same year. The flagship Lineage 1000, a 19-passenger derivative of its E190 airliner, bowed in 2006.
EEJ brought fly-by-wire to midsize jets with the launch of the Legacy 450 and 500 in 2008, and it opened service centers in Mesa, Arizona, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida that same year. The Legacy 650, an upgraded, longer-range derivative of the Legacy 600, debuted in 2009. A vote of confidence came in 2010 with a firm order from fractional fleet operator NetJets for 50 Phenom 300s and options on an additional 75—a deal worth more than $1 billion.
EEJ began assembling Phenom 100s at a new facility in Melbourne, Florida in 2011; it brought the assembly of Phenom 300s to the site in the same year and started making Legacy 450/500s there in 2016.
A fleet-refreshment program begat the Lineage 1000E (Enhanced), with upgraded cabin, cockpit, and range (2013); the Phenom 100E, with multifunction spoilers (2014) and 100EV (Evolution), with upgraded powerplant and avionics (2016); the Legacy 650E, adding synthetic vision and auto-throttle (2016); and the Phenom 300E, with new interior and avionics (2017). Meanwhile, fractional fleet operator Flexjet added the Phenom 300 to its program in 2014, and the Legacy 450 and 500 in 2016.
Embraer offers VLJ/light aircraft (Phenom 100EV/300E), midsize/super-midsize models (Legacy 450/500/650E, Praetor 500/600), and large-cabin (Lineage 1000E) business jets.
Founded: 1958 HQ: Savannah, Georgia Top Executive: Mark Burns (President) Employees: 13,000 Phone: (800) 810-4853
Gulfstream Aerospace focuses on the large-cabin market, manufacturing business jets capable of intercontinental operations. The company, a division of U.S. defense contractor General Dynamics, also provides sales and refurbishment services for preowned Gulfstream aircraft.
The company was established in 1958 as an outgrowth of Grumman Aircraft Engineering Co., which developed the Gulfstream 1, a 12-passenger turboprop business aircraft. The success of that model led to the jet-powered Gulfstream II. In 1966, Grumman moved its civil-aircraft production to Savannah, Georgia; and in 1978, the Gulfstream line and Savannah plant were purchased by American Jet Industries, headed by Allen Paulson, and its name changed to Gulfstream American.
In the 1980s, the GIII came to market; the company’s name changed again, this time to Gulfstream Aerospace; Chrysler bought the company; and the Gulfstream IV was introduced. At the end of the 1980s, Paulson repurchased Gulfstream with private equity firm Forstmann Little & Co. The 1990s brought Gulfstream’s first sales contract with NetJets, the introduction of the GV, and in 1999, the company’s purchase by General Dynamics.
In the 2000s, Gulfstream bought Galaxy Aerospace, developing its midsize jets into the G100 and G200, and purchased its first service facility outside the U.S. Gulfstream also introduced the G550 and G650 and brought Enhanced Vision Systems and internet connectivity to business aircraft. This decade saw the introduction of the 650ER and the G500 and G600 super-midsize jets.
The product line includes the G280, a super-midsize model introduced in 2008 with 3,000-nautical-mile range; G550, a large-cabin, ultra-long-range jet seating up to 18 passengers with a PlaneView flight deck; G500/600, a pair of long-range jets introduced in 2014 that feature the Symmetry Flight Deck and fly-by-wire flight controls; and G650/650ER, the flagship ultra-long-range jets, with 7,000- and 7,500-nautical-mile ranges, respectively.
Gulfstream operates a global network of service centers for maintenance and repairs. It refurbishes its aircrafts’ interiors at a purpose-built facility in Savannah.
8. Honda Aircraft
Founded: 2006HQ: Greensboro, North CarolinaTop Executive: Michimasa Fujino (President and CEO)Employees: 1,500Phone: (336) 662-0246
U.S.-based Honda Aircraft Company manufacturers the HA-420 HondaJet. The light twinjet features a patented over-the-wing engine mount as well as turbofans that the airframer’s parent, Japan’s Honda Motor Company, developed in partnership with General Electric.
Honda Aircraft grew out of a U.S.-based research project on light airplanes and jet engines that started in 1986 and was led by young aeronautical engineer Michimasa Fujino. The program progressed in 1988 to airframe development and in 1993 to flight tests of the MH-02—claimed to be the first all-composite business jet—before Honda ended it in 1996 following a financial collapse in Japan.
Back in that country, Fujino awoke one night in 1997, seized by a vision, and sketched out his novel over-the-wing engine-mount design. Following fortuitous encounters with senior managers, Honda Motor Company launched the HondaJet project later that year. The program gathered momentum with the establishment of a research facility in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2001; the first successful test flight of the all-composite HondaJet prototype in 2003; and establishment of the joint venture GE Honda Aero Engines to develop turbofans for the aircraft in 2004.
The HondaJet debuted at the 2005 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, and Honda Aircraft was officially established the following year with Fujino at the helm. The company began taking orders at the 2006 National Business Aviation Association convention, booking more than 100 delivery positions.
Following six additional years of development (three more than initially planned), production of HA-420 HondaJets commenced at the company’s purpose-built Greensboro factory in 2012. Then came FAA certification of the HF120 turbofan powerplant (2013), first flight of a production model (2014), and finally FAA type certification and first HondaJet delivery (December 2015). Introduction of the HondaJet Elite, an enhanced version of the HA-420, and a retrofit upgrade package for in-service HondaJets followed in 2018, along with certification by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau.
In 2017 and 2018, the model was the world’s most-delivered light jet.
Founded: 1948HQ: RomeTop Executive: Alessandro Profumo (CEO)Employees: 49,500Phone: +39 06 324731WebsiteLeonardo
Leonardo is an Italian multinational aerospace and defense organization headquartered in Rome. It is one of the world’s largest global defense contractors and manufactures a wide variety of rotorcraft and fixed-wing aircraft for both civil and military applications.
Formerly Finmeccanica, Leonardo was founded in 1948 as the mechanical engineering division of the state-run Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI). Agusta represented the rotorcraft branch of the business, which began developing and manufacturing helicopters in 1952 under license from Bell.
Agusta first flew the A109 in 1976. A lightweight, twin-engined utility helicopter, the A109 has proven to be the company’s best-seller and is still manufactured today.
Leonardo’s legacy companies underwent frequent reorganizations, mergers, and divestments from 1960 through the 1980s. In 1992, Agusta became a partner in NHIndustries, a joint venture between Eurocopter and Fokker. This trio went on to develop the NH-90 helicopter. In 2000, Finmeccanica and British manufacturer GKN agreed to merge their rotorcraft production branches (Agusta and GKN-Westland Helicopters), forming AgustaWestland. Originally a 50/50 merger, Finmeccanica acquired GKN’s share of the venture in 2004, becoming the sole owner of the AgustaWestland brand.
Finmeccanica was restructured into seven business units in 2014 and changed its name to Leonardo on Jan. 1, 2017.
Leonardo currently produces the AW109, AW119, AW139, AW169, and AW189 for civilian applications, with several military rotorcraft such as the SW4 and AW109M rounding out the company’s helicopter line.
Leonardo employs roughly 49,500 people in more than 150 global locations.Leonardo Aircraft Specs & News[Image: MD 500E]
10. MD Helicopters
Founded: 1955HQ: Mesa, ArizonaPhone: (480) 346-6300WebsiteMD Helicopters
MD Helicopters traces its roots back to 1955 when the Hughes Tool Company’s Aircraft Division began studying and developing light helicopters. After more than six decades and a series of mergers and divestments, it was recapitalized as an independent company in 2005. Since then, the light rotorcraft manufacturer has grown its global fleet presence to more than 2,500 operational aircraft.
Early civilian rotorcraft produced by the Aircraft Division included the Hughes 269, 300, 500, and 530F. After successes in both the civil and military rotorcraft domains, the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter chiefly among them, Hughes sold its helicopters division to McDonnell Douglas in 1984. In 1997, McDonnell Douglas and Boeing merged their businesses, becoming the Boeing Company.
Only two years later, in 1999, Boeing sold the commercial rotorcraft lines formerly produced by McDonnell Douglas to MD Helicopter Holdings, an umbrella company of Dutch RDM Holding. While Boeing retained production of the AH-64 and rights to the NOTAR no tail rotor system, MD Helicopter Holdings now owned production of the MD 500E, 530F, 520N, and 600N, as well as the MD Explorer series of twin-engine rotorcraft.
In July 2005, Lynn Tilton, the founder and then owner of Patriarch Partners, LLC, acquired MD Helicopter Holdings. That same year, MD Helicopters was officially recapitalized, with a headquarters in Mesa, Arizona.
In early 2020, Tilton relinquished control of MD Helicopters and other portfolio companies of Patriarch Partners following rulings by a Delaware bankruptcy court. MD is continuing normal operations.
11. Piaggio Aerospace
Founded: 1884HQ: Villanova d’Albenga (Savona), ItalyTop Executive: Vincenzo Nicastro, extraordinary commissioner (appointed by Italian government)Employees: 950Phone: (561) 253-0104
Founded in 1884 by Rinaldo Piaggio as a manufacturer of rolling stock for the railway infrastructure and for outfitting for ocean liners in Genoa, Italy, Piaggio began producing aircraft engines and airframes in 1915 and is one of the oldest airplane manufacturers still in existence. It rolled out its first aircraft of original design, the single-engine Piaggio P.1, in 1922 and developed several models through World War II, including the four-engine P.108 heavy bomber. Piaggio aircraft set 21 world speed records between 1937 and 1939.
After Rinaldo’s death in 1938, his sons Enrico and Armando managed the company, which also manufactured trucks, trams, trains, buses, nautical fittings. Relocating and rebuilding after World War II, Piaggio dropped most of its product lines but diversified into motorcycles, introducing the prolific Vespa scooter in 1946. Piaggio also continued developing aircraft, launching the twin-engine P.136 seaplane in 1948, the P.166 light transport/utility aircraft in 1957, and its first jet, the PD-808, in 1964, after having secured a production license for the Rolls-Royce Viper turbojet engine in 1960.
In the mid-1960s, Piaggio split its aircraft and scooter divisions into two companies, Piaggio Aero and Vespa. Over the next several decades, several investors purchased stakes in Piaggio Aero as the company continued to produce aircraft and engines mainly for military customers in Europe, Australia, and Africa.
Piaggio entered into a partnership with Gates Learjet in 1983 to begin development of the Avanti. The first 12 fuselages were built in Wichita, Kansas, despite Learjet pulling out of the project in early 1986. With first flight in September 1986, the aircraft received Italian certification in March 1990 and FAA certification the following October. As of December 2020, Piaggio has built approximately 250 aircraft; during that month, the worldwide Avanti fleet surpassed more than one million flight hours.
The company spent 2020 recovering from its 2018 declared insolvency even while COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the aviation industry. Its sleek twin pusher turboprop P.180 Avanti—in production since 1986 and now in its third iteration as the Avanti EVO—is touted as the fastest turboprop on the market with a maximum speed of 402 kts at 41,000 feet or Mach .70. A $220 million contract with the Italian Ministry of Defense signed in January 2020 for nine new Avanti EVOs and upgrades to 19 existing Avantis over the next four years brought stability to the company even while it remains in extraordinary receivership status and continues to seek a buyer.