Piaggio Planning for Strong 2010
William Garvey (Aviation Week)
Oct 21, 2009
NBAA 2009 / Orlando, Fla.
While other aircraft manufacturers are struggling mightily to weather the recession and credit crisis, Piaggio Aero is proceeding largely unscathed.
Speaking today at the NBAA convention in Orlando, CEO Alberto Galassi said, "Despite the Honeywell forecast that 2010 will be worse than 2009, we plan to build 27 to 30 aircraft next year, the same as this year." And, he added, "We have no white tails [new, unsold airplanes]. Not a single one."
That's not to say the P-180 Avanti builder has been unaffected by the recession. "We live on the same planet," he said, and have had some temporary furloughs and a total of four cancellations, split evenly between the U.S. and Europe. But because of the company's modest size and production rate, it has been able to adjust output and payroll quickly. "Being small can have big advantages," he said.
He's troubled to see large enterprises going through massive adjustments, but is particularly saddened by Cessna's distress. "I honestly wish them very good luck," he said. "Cessna deserves a lot of respect. They were first to create this business and I admire them very much. They do things right. Their problems have nothing to do with their products. It's the economy and the credit market, that's all. It may seem odd for the head of one manufacturer to say good things about another, but I have great respect for them."