Piaggio tight-lipped on jet study

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Market research suggests Italian manufacturer is set to produce new aircraft to meet corporate challenge

Market researcher Forecast International is conducting an online survey on behalf of an unidentified “world-ranked aircraft manufacturer” to evaluate the market for a family of new light and medium business jets that bear a striking resemblance to Piaggio’s P180 Avanti twin-turboprop.

piaggio

Piaggio declines to comment on whether it commissioned the market study, describing the resemblance as “circumstantial”, but the Italian manufacturer has previously said it is studying a possible family of jets.

“Piaggio is looking at future possible products, we’ve been saying that for years, but there has been no decision,” says Massimo Isidori, vice-president aircraft sales, Europe and the Middle East. “When we’re ready we’ll make the proper announcement.”

Piaggio is believed to have been studying for almost two years a series of new aircraft, of which the eight-passenger “Light-Medium jet” in the online survey could be the first model, with initial negotiations under way with potential suppliers for around 18 months.

The Forecast study details the baseline Light-Medium variant, which would have a range of 4,260km (2,300nm) and would be priced at under $11 million. It would compete with the Cessna Citation XLS and Bombardier Learjet 45XR, offering a bigger cabin, faster cruise speeds, shorter climb time and field length and longer range. The study also details a stretched 10-passenger “Medium jet” derivative to compete with the Cita­tion Sovereign and Hawker 800XP.

The survey also refers to a “Light” six- to nine-passenger version. All three variants would have 80% commonality. Engines for the Light-Medium and Medium jets are in the 4,600lb-thrust (20kN) class and would be the Honeywell TFE731-50/60 or the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW300. The proposed Light model could be powered by other versions of the TFE731 or the PW500 and PW600 range.

Specifications

 

Light-Medium

Medium

Length (m)

18.2

20.2

Wingspan  m)

17.6

17.6

Height (m)

5.9

5.9

Cabin height  (m)

1.88

1.88

Cabin width (m)

2.01

2.01

Passengers

8

10

MTOW (kg)

10,900

13,600

Ceiling altitude (ft)

47,000

47,000

IFR range (km)

4,260

5,550

Max speed (kt/Mach)

315/0.8

315/0.8

Price ($m)

<11

<13.5

MTOW=maximum take-off weight

GRAHAM WARWICK/WASHINGTON DC