Fractional ownership provider Avantair continued to ground its fleet of nearly 60 Piaggio Avanti aircraft as it inspects the fleet and conducts a comprehensive review of records, maintenance documentation and operating procedures. Avantair is coordinating with on the week-long grounding and records check, the company says.
“These inspections and other actions are still under way,” says Avantair CEO Steven Santo, acknowledging that “this is an extremely difficult period for our loyal employees and frustrating to our devoted customers.”
But he maintains that action is “necessary to ensure every aspect of our operation will allow us to reach the next level of safety and performance and exceed the highest industry standard.”
Avantair is taking steps to improve its maintenance procedures and operation infrastructure, the company says, adding it retained Nick Sabatini, former FAA associate administrator for aviation safety, to oversee the project. “With our new processes and procedures, Avantair will satisfy the heightened requirements governing the largest aircraft types in our industry,” Santo adds.
The grounding follows a July 28 incident in which an Avantair Avanti twin pusher-prop flew two flights without its left elevator. The aircraft had departed Camarillo, Calif., to San Diego on a positioning flight, picked up two passengers for a Part 91K flight and flew to Henderson Executive Airport in Nevada. When the aircraft landed, the crew noticed the left elevator was missing. The elevator was found near one of the runways at Camarillo Airport three days later.