Under new CEO Brent Wouters, Cirrus Design has said that more cuts to its work force may be coming, but it will be pushing development of its Vision SJ50 very light jet which, it said, should help to retain some jobs.
Cirrus is planning for FAA certification of the Vision by the end of 2011. Wouters has said the target price is around $1 million. The company currently is holding more than 400 deposits of $100,000 for the aircraft, Wouters told the Duluth News Tribune on Feb. 14.
“We have made a number of reconfigurations with the goal of accelerating the jet program,” Wouters said. “We are increasing our focus on the jet, because that is going to be our future engine for growth in my estimation.”
Cirrus’ piston aircraft production has fallen to 20% of its 16 aircraft a week capacity. The company now has about 655 employees in Duluth, Minn., 150 at Grand Forks, N.D., and a few dozen elsewhere. The company has laid off 350 employees since last September, of whom 250 are outright dismissals and 100 “on furlough.”