NEW PIPER Aircraft is offering the Malibu Mirage high-performance piston single as an economical alternative to turboprops and light business jets for companies considering moving to smaller corporate aircraft.

Piper president Chuck Suma says that, on a 300nm (550km) mission with four passengers, the 250kt (460km/h)-cruising speed Malibu will arrive "within a few minutes" of a Raytheon Beech King Air C90SE - at almost one-third the acquisition and operating costs. Compared with a Cessna CitationJet, he says, the Malibu gives almost one-quarter the acquisition and operating costs.

Repositioning the Malibu is among several goals set for Piper following its emergence from bankruptcy protection earlier this year. Others include expanding international and institutional sales and introducing new products.

Suma says, that near-term product planning centres on re-introducing old Piper designs, possibly including the twin-turboprop Cheyenne. Over the next two years, he says, Piper could also agree to market other manufacturers' aircraft, such as the Pilatus PC-12, through its distributor network.

In the longer term, Piper plans to develop new aircraft, Suma says. Plans call for an initial public offering in two years to fund prototypes, followed by a later offering to raise funds for production.

Source: Flight International