Piaggio: 'New business jet programme could launch before year-end'

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Italian manufacturer Piaggio Aero has confirmed its long-speculated launch of a second business aircraft type could happen as early as this year and that it will be a jet.

Senior board members at the Genoa-based airframer have confirmed that two turbofan-powered concepts are being studied – one a similar size to its P180 Avanti twin-pusher turboprop, the other slightly larger – and that the board will take a decision on which one to back "shortly".

The company, whose shareholders include the head of the Ferrari automotive family, plans to team with a major risk-sharing partner to develop the aircraft.

Piaggio also manufactured several P166 maritime patrol turboprop aircraft for the Italian government, but activity is now restricted to overhaul, leaving the company a one aircraft company. Speculation has mounted in the past two years over the need to diversify into an additional business aircraft type, either a larger version of the P180 or a jet version.

More details on this story will appear in the 11-17 April issue of Flight International.