The news yesterday that Piper Aircraft Inc. is terminating its business relationship with Czech Republic-based Czech Sport Aircraft to market that company’s Light Sport Aircraft under the PiperSport name may worry some PiperSport owners, but Piper officials say they are intent on working out a deal so those owners will continue to get the service and support they need.
The company is working on a transition plan with Czech Aircraft Works, according to Jackie Carlon, a Piper spokesman. “We know our customers are eager to get information,” she said, noting that 47 PiperSports are now in the hands of customers, with a total of 70 LSAs sold. As to whether those who bought the LSA but haven’t received it yet will see a delivery is still up in the air. “We’re working out those details now,” she added.
Piper’s primary focus now is to manage the transition between the two companies, she said, noting that the business arrangement has caused some confusion in the GA community. “This was a distribution agreement,” she said. “We were the master distributor and set up a network of dealers. It is those dealers who support the airplane.”
In a terse statement released Jan. 12, Piper CEO Geoffrey Berger said that after a year of working with the Czech Republic-based Czech Sport Aircraft, “Piper determined that it is in our company’s best long-term interests to discontinue the business relationship which distributed a Light Sport Aircraft manufactured by the Czech company and distributed under Piper’s brand by a separate distributor network. Clearly, the company has a different business perspective and approach to the market than Czech Sport Aircraft.”
Carlon would not elaborate on those differences, but in the statement, Piper officials noted that as the company built the distributor network for the PiperSport, “it became clear that Piper’s core strengths and that of Czech Sport Aircraft were mismatched.”
And while Piper has no plans to develop its own LSA, Berger said those at Piper have a “close affinity with this emerging segment of the marketplace and we have great expectations for the LSA industry. The LSA we were distributing is a good one and we encourage aviation enthusiasts to continue their support of this segment of the market.”
“We certainly understand the implications of this development in the Light Sport Aircraft segment and do not take this action carelessly,” he added.
For more information: Piper.com