Piaggio makes first Brazilian sale

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Piaggio Aero has confirmed receiving its first order from a Brazilian customer, as the maker of the P180 Avanti launches a strategic push into the fast-growing Latin American market for business jets.

The initial delivery in September to the undisclosed corporate jet operator in Brazil is hoped to lead to quick growth in the region, said John Bingham, president and CEO of Piaggio Americas.

"The first aircraft [order] is always the hardest," Bingham said.

The Italian airframer delivers 30-40 P180s annually, but almost exclusively to North America and Europe. Within a few years, Latin America is expected to account for between four to six deliveries a year, Bingham said.

"We've gained certification in a number of countries around the world where we weren't selling before, and one of those was Brazil," Bingham added.

Piaggio Aero has been working to make a strategic push in Latin America since the business aviation market downturn hit its traditional markets north of the equator.

Earlier this month, Piaggio Aero announced receiving type and production certificates from Brazil's regulator the Agéncia Nacional de Aviação Civil.

The company also announced partnering with Algar Aviation to manage distribution in Brazil. Algar already represents Daher-Socata in Brazil, and operates maintenance facilities in Uberlândia and Belo Horizonte.

"No one is going to buy an aircraft in Brazil unless you have these things in place," Bingham said.

Piaggio Aero targeted Brazil initially as Latin America's largest business aviation market, currently accounting for about two thirds of all sales, Bingham said. The airframer also plans to extend its sales campaign into Argentina, Chile and Colombia, he added.