Bespoke private aircraft services company ConnectJets has taken delivery of the first Piaggio P.180 Avanti Evo to be owned by a UK customer.
The handover comes as the London-headquartered Piaggio distributor prepares to set up the country's first air operator's certificate (AOC) for the twin-pusher turboprop.
"We are talking to a couple of operators, and would like to have an AOC up and running as soon as possible," says ConnectJets founder and managing director Gabriella Somerville.
She says there is a tremendous appetite for the Avanti in the UK and European charter markets, with customers and brokers drawn to its generous seven-seat cabin, high speed, good range and short-field performance.
"Many Avanti owners are keen to charter their spare capacity to generate some extra income," says Somerville. "However, with no operators in the UK with an Avanti on their AOC, the only option is to place their aircraft with a European operator who does. We hope to change all that."
ConnectJets became Piaggio’s UK distributor in 2016, and despite a fairly sluggish start, business is starting to pick up. Somerville says the company has sold two pre-owned Avantis and a single Evo. The model was introduced by Piaggio in 2015 as the third iteration of the P.180. “Business really began to pick up in the fourth quarter of last year and I hope to close on four Evo sales this year,” she adds.