Cirrus outsells Cessna — again

Year-to-date shipments released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) confirm Cirrus Design Corp.’s “dominant position” as the market leader in high-performance, single-engine, four-place airplanes.

“For the past three years the Cirrus SR22 has been the world’s best selling airplane,” said John M. Bingham, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

“We’re pleased that our year-to-date total deliveries of 447 airplanes — 350 of which were SR22s — continue this trend.”

According to GAMA, Cirrus delivered 350 SR22s compared to 240 Cessna 182s.

The deliveries, which are ahead of projections, have led to expansion projects at two manufacturing facilities in Duluth, Minn., as well as a facility in Grand Forks, N.D.

The expansion projects are a “tangible view of the company’s growth,” Alan Klapmeier, president and CEO, said at AOPA Expo.

Adding to that growth is the recent acquisition of Smart Air Travel Solutions Air (SATS Air) of Greenville, S.C. The air taxi operation, which uses Cirrus aircraft, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cirrus.

The SATS Air initiative proves a single engine piston aircraft can be certified all weather day/night IFR Part 135, Klapmeier said. “This acquisition follows our philosophy to engage in pursuits that ultimately grow the industry,” he said.

The air taxi market is “gigantic,” according to Steve Hanvey, CEO of SATS Air. “This expands GA to a segment of people who haven’t used it,” he said, noting that he’s lost only one client since last September and that’s because he bought his own Cirrus airplane.

It is anticipated SATS Air, which has 13 Cirrus aircraft now, will add an additional 100 SR22s to its fleet over the course of the next year.

WHAT ABOUT A JET?

Cirrus is not going to build a Very Light Jet, Klapmeier announced at Expo. “That’s not our market. That’s not our customer,” he said. “What we are going to do is something like a personal jet.”

While claiming he was not ready to make an announcement about a new product, Klapmeier said he could imagine a single-engine, two-seat, fixed-gear jet trainer equipped with a parachute system that would cost less than $1 million. He noted the jet would not compete with VLJs already in the works, such as the Eclipse 500, Cessna’s Mustang and the Adam A700. “Our jet would be complementary as opposed to competitive,” he said. “The personal jet will create all kinds of customers for the Eclipse and the Mustang as people move up. This is a very growth-oriented view of the industry.”

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