Elite Air has made a unique new addition to its fleet of charter aircraft—the rear-accelerated turbroprop Piaggio P.180 Avanti. The striking Piaggio will join Elite Air’s King Air 200 and Piper Malibu to bring its propeller-plane portfolio to three aircraft.
The Piaggio, however, brings performance that is truly in a class by itself, according to Elite Air CEO Gray Gibbs.
“The unique design of the Piaggio gives it jet-like performance in almost every way,” Gibbs said. “It can fly higher, faster and farther than anything in its class. We’ve had our eye on these aircraft for some time, so we couldn’t be more excited to finally have one on our certificate.”
Elite Air’s Piaggio P.180 will be based at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) and will be available for charter in the next several weeks. The aircraft can travel nearly 1,500 nautical miles at 41,000 feet and more than 450 miles per hour, making it comparable in range to most light to midsize jets, while being more fuel efficient and affordable.
“The Piaggio we’re now lucky enough to manage is immaculately maintained,” said AJ Becker, Elite Air’s marketing and sales director. “Passengers in this aircraft aren’t likely to recognize they aren’t traveling in a jet.”
Elite Air’s Piaggio will be flown in the more reliable two-pilot configuration—First Officer Scott Rydman will be joined in the cockpit by a captain to be named—and can seat up to eight. The fully pressurized cabin features articulating leather seating, a working galley and extensive entertainment options.
Hundreds of corporations around the country—and globe—have over the years adopted the Italian-designed Piaggio, which was first offered to the Italian armed forces.
“We can’t wait to hear customers’ reactions to this aircraft,” Becker said. “It’s been turning heads all over the world since the late 90s, and we’re sure folks will love it.”