Cirrus Design Slows Down Plane Production
From out of Minnesota comes a sign that the light sport aircraft market is faltering. Recently Cirrus Design CEO Alan Klapmeier told the Duluth News Tribune that the company has reduced its work week to three days from four due to a decrease in demand for their planes. The slowing market also means a delay for the introduction of the Cirrus SRS LSA. It will now come out in 2010 instead of 2009. The company is still working on the Cirrus Vision SJ50 personal five- to seven-seat jet. So far the company has received more than 400 orders for the jet, each with a $100,000 deposit. Cirrus laid off 100 staff in Duluth and at its parts plant in Grand Forks, N.D. back in September but still employs about 1,280 people. Business is off about 10% at Cirrus so far but Klapmeier is hopeful that an accelerated depreciation measure passed by Congress earlier this year might stimulate fourth quarter airline sales. If sales don't pick up, however, Cirrus plans to keep the three day a week production schedule for the rest of the year. The small planes are a favorite with those who fly for pleasure including celebrities like Angelina Jolie but these days flying simply for the sheer joy of it is a luxury many feel they can't afford.