A Polish delegation joined Piaggio on the static display yesterday to ink the deal for a P180 Avanti. The aircraft will be used as an air ambulance by Lotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe (LPR), a publicly funded Polish air rescue service.

The sale is a landmark for Piaggio. It marks the first sale to a government outside Italy and the first sale to Eastern Europe for more than a decade. The distinctive pusher-turboprop Avanti will join LPR's otherwise wholly Polish-built fleet which includes fourteen MIL-2 and MIL-2 Plus helicopters and three PZL M-20 Mewa aircraft. The introduction of the Avanti will give LPR the capacity to operate 24/7 rescue and air ambulance services from its 14 operating bases.

Piaggio believes the versatile P180 has much to offer special mission operators in the public sector. Speaking at the show vice president of sales Massimo Isidori said Piaggio had beaten competition from two Cessna proposals and Raytheon to win the public tender.

"It's a fantastic win. The first sale to a foreign government-funded operator and strengthens our belief that the air ambulance and quick change versions of the aircraft offer us great potential."

LPR carried out a detailed study of different light turboprops and business jets and pitched for the Avanti because of its unmatched operational flexibility, economics and performance. Piaggio has seen sales of the Avanti increase in the past year. It has won sales in the UK where charter company Euroeasylink is using it for both VIP and air ambulance missions.

Source: Flight Daily News