Piper will slightly delay receiving certification of the six-seat M600 from the US Federal Aviation Administration to the first quarter of 2016.
An earlier plan to receive a type certificate by the end of the year would have omitted flight into known icing, but the new schedule allows the Florida-based manufacturer to begin deliveries with a fully capable M600 early next year, says Piper chief executive Simon Caldecott.
Piper is now in discussions with the FAA to scope out the flight test programme for the M600, a clean-sheet design unveiled last April.
The slight delay comes a week after Piper announced a lay-off of at least 100 and perhaps 150 employees in Vero Beach, Florida.
The layoff was due to slower economic activity in Asia, parts of Europe and North America, Caldecott says.
“We expected sales to increase in the summer, but have yet to see demand come back at the pace we had planned for,” Caldecott says. “We must alight production with current market demand.”
The slowdown could not be offset by signing a new order for 26 aircraft with Flight Safety International on 20 July. The order had been in discussions for several weeks, Caldecott explains, and had already been factored into the layoff decision.