Piaggio Aerospace is planning to launch an interior retrofit package for P180 Avanti II early next year to give a new lease of life to the twin-engined turboprop, the first examples of which entered service in 2005.

The Italian company, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi's state investment arm, Mubadala, has not released a price for the upgrade – dubbed the “Comfort Package”, but says it will match the interior of its latest generation Avanti – the EVO – with VIP seats designed and developed by Iacobucci and finished by luxury outfitters Poltrona Frau.

Piaggio chief executive Carlo Logli says the upgrade will be available to the owners of the 128 Avanti IIs currently in service. These customers already have the option of adding an extra fuel tank to boost the aircraft’s range by 250nm (460km). “The new VIP interior will give the look and feel of a new aircraft,” he says.

Logli dismisses suggestions that the retrofit could cannibalise EVO sales. “The latest Avanti is a major upgrade to the Avanti II, with its increased performance, quieter cabin, new propellers and landing gear, just some of the improvements we have made,” he says.

Logli hopes to secure European approval for the $7.4 million aircraft during the Middle East Business Aviation show, running from 8-10 December in Dubai. Piaggio will not be bringing an aircraft to the show, Logli says, as it is committed to delivering the first two aircraft delivered to their Indian and US owners before the end of the year.

Indian and US validation is expected to follow immediately after EASA approval.

“The EVO is selling well,” Logli says. “We have 16 orders so far and 48 options.”

Source: Flight International