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‘Record year of growth’ at Duluth’s Cirrus Aircraft

Production increased by nearly 5% last year.

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A Cirrus Vision SF50 jet returns to the hanger after a demonstration flight at the Inside Cirrus Event at the Rochester Airport in 2012. (file / News Tribune)
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Sales at Cirrus Aircraft climbed last year, marking a record year of growth.

Cirrus’ production increased by nearly 5% last year, with a total 465 aircraft sold. And the Duluth-based company’s Vision Jet, which sold 81 units, became the world’s bestselling jet in the general aviation industry, according to a news release from the company.

The Duluth-based company’s 2019 growth made it the fifth consecutive year that its airplane shipments increased.

Cirrus' growth comes as the rest of the industry also saw increases in sales of nearly all aircraft categories, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association .

Its newer SF50 Vision Jet surpassed last year’s sales by around 28%. It launched a new jet generation in early 2019, which included newer technology and improved comfort.

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Over 100 of the jets were recalled in April because of reported problems with angle-of-attack sensors. Nearly all of the airplanes went back into service several months later .

The SR Series, which includes the SR20, SR22 and SR22T models, was the best-selling high-performance piston aircraft in its segment for 18 years in a row, the news release read.

Of these, the SR22T was the most common aircraft sold last year, with 200 units. Sales of this increased by over 11% from the year before.

But sales of the “plane that put Cirrus on the map,” the SR20, fell by around 18% to 53 units.

Compared to the year before, Cirrus billed around $110 million more for aircraft in 2019. At $546 million billed in 2019, it far surpassed its previous record set last year of around $437 million.

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“Our team strives to advance personal aviation with smarter, more connected aircraft and our annual performance is reflective of how our strategy is resonating with customers from both inside and outside of aviation,” CEO Zean Nielsen said in the release.

In an interview with the News Tribune last year, Todd Simmons, Cirrus president of customer experience, predicted the production of the Vision Jet would continue growing.

He expected a growth of 30%-40%, but the figures show a growth of just over 22%.

Cirrus SR-22
The Cirrus SR-22, a single-engine piston airplane, is shown in flight. (Photo courtesy of Cirrus Aircraft)

The piston-airplane segment increased by over 16% from 2018. This was a decade high for the aircraft segment, according to Pete Bunce, GAMA president and CEO.

“Looking ahead, manufacturers are excited about the future, especially given the ongoing innovation in manufacturing that directly relates to safety and the progress being made in the development of supersonic and electrically propelled aircraft,” Bunce wrote in a release from GAMA.

Cirrus added a new factory in McKinney, Texas, located just north of Dallas. This location joins a slate of other cities with Cirrus locations including Grand Forks, North Dakota; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Duluth.

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The number of employees grew as well. Team members were added to every location, growing the staff by 10%.

Related Topics: TECHNOLOGYCIRRUS AIRCRAFTMANUFACTURING
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