Avantair Promotes, Gears Up For Growth

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Avantair Inc., which says it is the only publicly traded standalone fractional operator in the U.S., yesterday said its has promoted Darren Blackett to the position of vice president of sales and marketing while appointing Mark Whitman as sales director of a newly formed territory in the North and Midwest. Blackett, who joined the company in 2004 and previously held the position of senior director of sales, will now be responsible for leading and managing the sales organization and the company's marketing efforts. He previously held the position of Business development manager for the western region at the Barnes Group Inc. He holds a BA in Marketing and an MBA. Whitman, a former Naval Aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps, brings 25 years of business aviation sales and marketing experience to Avantair. With a strong background in business aviation sales, Mr. Whitman has served in various roles with major industry leaders.

Steven Santo, chief executive officer, stated, "Both Mr. Blackett and Mr. Whitman bring much value to Avantair. We are confident that as we expand our sales force, we will deliver the Avantair brand and service to additional satisfied owners." "I am excited about this new opportunity and look forward to working with our very talented sales organization to continue to meet our sales and marketing goals. Avantair offers a great fractional aircraft program and leads the industry with the lowest fuel surcharge. Both the Avantair program and its aircraft, the P.180, have many competitive advantages in the marketplace," Mr. Blackett said. Headquartered in Clearwater, Fla., Avantair Inc. holds an exclusive in North American fractional aircraft shares in the Piaggio Avanti P.180 aircraft. The company currently manages a 32-plane fleet. Avantair says it has another 52 Piaggio Avanti IIs on order and recently announced an order for 20 Embraer Phenom 100s.