RCMP sells sleek plane for half of asking price

The RCMP is getting far less than its asking price after the online auction of a controversial plane ordered by former commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli. The luxury turboprop was listed on the government of Canada's surplus website last spring at $2.5 million. Last week it sold for $1.3 million.

RCMP paid $8 million for plane many considered a vanity purchase by then commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli

A 2003 Piaggio Avanti P180 was auctioned off earlier this year on a government of Canada surplus website. It was bought by the RCMP under former commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli for more than $8 million, but sold for $1.3 million. (gcsurplus.ca)

The RCMP is getting far less than its asking price at the online auction of a controversial Italian-made plane ordered by former commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli.

The Piaggio P180 Avanti luxury turboprop was listed for sale on the government of Canada's surplus website last spring with bids starting at $2.5 million.

The twin-engine turboprop Piaggio Avanti can seat up to nine passengers and two pilots. (gcsurplus.ca)

A spokesperson at the department of Public Works tells CBC News it accepted a winning bid of $1.3 million for the Piaggio on July 17. The identity of the buyer is protected under the Privacy Act and the number of bids will not be released until the sale is formally closed.

The RCMP paid more than $8 million for the nine-seater executive aircraft when it bought the plane in 2002. At the time, many viewed the plane as a vanity purchase. Zaccardelli hand-picked the spiffy-looking turboprop aircraft.

Niche market

A source in Canada's aviation industry, who did not want to be identified, calls the P180 a niche aircraft, "You've really got to want an Avanti. The market is very limited," he said. 

He added that the aircraft is not very desirable because it has a short range of roughly 1,500 kilometres and is noisy. Even so, he said, someone got a deal, because according to the plane's age, history and specifications, it should have sold for around $2 million.

The RCMP retired the Piaggio on April 1, 2014, as part of its efforts to cut costs. A spokesperson for the Mounties told CBC News the decision was made after "an evaluation of maintenance costs and operational requirements."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.