Cirrus to move fuselage production to Grand Forks
Tony Kennedy; Staff Writer
Star-Tribune Newspaper of the Twin Cities Mpls.-St. Paul
Duluth-based airplane maker Cirrus Design will move fuselage production to Grand Forks, N.D., by late summer to improve efficiency, the company said.
Cirrus spokesman Chris Maddy said the change won’t diminish the nascent company’s employment plans in Duluth, where 408 workers were employed at the end of May. At full production, Cirrus still expects at least 600 Duluth employees, Maddy said.
When Cirrus broke ground on its Grand Forks facility in 1996, the firm promised 150 Grand Forks workers once full production was reached. That projection has not changed.
Company engineers previously expected to move wing production to Grand Forks, but that job will remain in Duluth, Maddy said.
“Company officials have elected to assign the fuselage fabrication to Grand Forks because the work force is proficient in that process,” Cirrus said in a news release.
The company is striving to make one airplane a day. In May, the production rate was one plane every 4.4 days. Of the 37 Cirrus SR20s made so far, 28 have come off the assembly line in Duluth since Jan. 1.
The four-seat SR20 is designed for general aviation and comes equipped with a parachute system for the aircraft itself. The company has a backlog of more than 550 orders.