Italian general aviation aircraft manufacturer Tecnam is hoping to secure a loan from the Italian government in the coming months to help fund development of its P2012 Traveller piston-twin.

The company has earmarked the type for certification and first delivery in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

The 11-seat Lycoming TEO-540-powered aircraft was launched in 2011, and has so far been financed by privately-owned Tecnam, which produces 20 light aircraft models from its facility in Capua, southern Italy.

"Our line-up mainly comprises light singles, so the P2012 is a departure for Tecnam, both in terms of aircraft size and target market," says Tecnam chief executive Paolo Pascale.

The P2012, Pascale continues, will fill a gap in the market for a next-generation, 11-seat commuter piston-twin. "The aircraft will replace ageing designs such as the Cessna 402 and Piper Navajo. Nothing new has entered this sector for about 25 years," he says.

Tecnam has already frozen the P2012’s design, and is hoping to fly a production-conforming prototype in 2015.

To assist with the aircraft’s design Tecnam has teamed up with US commuter airline Cape Air, which is seeking to replace the 402s and Navajos in its fleet.

"Through their extensive knowledge of the commuter airline market, Cape Air has been able to offer technical expertise and marketing advice. We are going to visit them in the next few weeks and will try to secure a launch order from them," Pascale says.

The Garmin G1000-equipped avgas and mogas-fuelled P2012 is priced at around $1.8 million. The type has fixed gear, "allowing it to operate from unpaved runways", large panoramic windows and four doors, including a sliding passenger door and a cargo door. The P2012 is designed to achieve a maximum cruise speed of 215kt (400km/h) at 10,000ft (3,050m), with a long-range cruise speed of 170kt.