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Cirrus shipments grew in 2016

022217.N.DNT.CirrusC1 Several Cirrus employees work on the first production unit of the company's Vision Jet in January. Cirrus delivered three of the jets in 2016 and 317 of its piston planes, a high for recent years. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com

Cirrus delivered 320 planes in 2016, a high in recent years that capped a big 12 months for the Duluth-based company.

"We will look back on 2016 for years to come and recognize it as a time that changed the trajectory of the company," Cirrus Aircraft CEO and co-founder Dale Klapmeier said in a statement Wednesday.

The company put 317 of its SR piston airplanes into customers' hands as well as three of its new Vision jets last year. Cirrus sales dropped off in 2009 after the recession hit — the company moved a record 721 planes in 2006 — but sales have steadily climbed in recent years.

Meanwhile, the overall general aviation industry slumped last year as billings dropped from $24 billion to $20.1 billion and airplane shipments dropped 4 percent, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, which released its year-end report Wednesday.

"The 2016 year-end results were disappointing overall, although we did see some blue sky in the turboprop sector," GAMA president Pete Bunce said in a statement. "As we look toward 2017 and beyond, we are optimistic about the future and encouraged by the number of companies investing in innovative research and development programs and planning to bring new products to market."

Cirrus moved 35 SR20s, 133 SR22s, 149 SR22Ts and 3 SF50 Vision jets last year. The company reported $243 million in billings, according to GAMA.

Along with the approval and first delivery of the Vision jet in 2016, Cirrus also opened its finishing center in Duluth, launched its next-generation line of SR aircraft and opened the Knoxville, Tenn., campus.

"To have achieved any one of our 2016 accomplishments is certainly impactful; but taken altogether, our performance last year truly speaks to the capability of our team and our commitment to customers, owners and operators of Cirrus aircraft around the world," Klapmeier said.

Brooks Johnson

Brooks covers business and the economy for the Duluth News Tribune.

(218) 723-5329
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