Zenith Aviation, the UK launch customer and distributor for the Piaggio Avanti Evo, is preparing to take delivery of its first aircraft in early December and hopes to begin exercising its options for the twin-engined turboprop by the end of September.

“We will be taking serial number seven,” says Zenith managing director Stuart Mulholland. “It will be the first aircraft to roll off the assembly line at Villanova d’Albenga.”

Villanova d’Albenga is the Italian airframer's new base, replacing its more-than 90-year-old plant in Finale Ligure, Genoa, which is being turned into a dedicated service centre for the Avanti fleet.

Zenith is the first UK-based charter operator to buy the twin-pusher. The Biggin Hill-based company has one firm order and seven options for the Evo – the third iteration of the P180.

The aircraft will join Zenith’s five-strong fleet of owned and managed business jets, which includes a superlight Cessna Citation XLS and large-cabin Bombardier Challenger 604.

The $7.4 million Evo was launched in May 2014 as an upgraded and higher performance version of the 10-year-old Avanti II. It features a host of refinements including a revamped, quieter interior, new landing gear, winglets, redesigned engine nacelles, a reshaped front wing and five-blade composite scimitar propellers.

Piaggio secured European certification for the Evo in December 2014 and the first aircraft was handed over to Greek charter operator Superior Air Services in April.

Source: Flight International