Here’s the news from the “Duluth News Tribune”
I hope this temporary situation is very short for the sake of the workers losing their jobs.
Duluth plane maker to trim staff
Cuts at Cirrus Design expected to be temporary
By Peter Passi
News Tribune staff writer
Workers at Duluth-based Cirrus Design Corp. got some unsettling news this week. The airplane maker plans to announce staffing cuts next week, as it strives to improve efficiency.
How deep those cuts will be remains a question, but company spokesman Chris Maddy expects they will be temporary.
Cirrus employs 644 people company-wide, including 471 people at its plant in Duluth, 18 people at a paint shop in Hibbing and 155 at a fuselage plant in Grand Forks, N.D.
Maddy explained that Cirrus needs to restructure its operations to boost production. It’s now evaluating exactly how to do that.
The company has continually fallen short of its production goals. By the end of 2000, Cirrus had expected to be shipping one airplane every business day. But in all of January, it delivered just 13 aircraft.
V0We’re producing a great airplane, and there’s plenty of interest in it,’’ Maddy said. V0But we’re not pumping them out the way we need to to be profitable.’’
Maddy said the company needs to step back and figure out how to make better use of its work force. V0We’re not achieving what we should with the people we have,’’ he said.
Cirrus manufactures two single-engine airplanes – the 200-horsepower SR20 and the 310-horsepower SR22.
Both airplanes are built on the same body. To date, Cirrus has orders for 458 SR20s and 204 SR22s.
Since Cirrus began production in 1999, it has shipped a grand total of 110 SR20s. The SR22 was introduced in October 2000, and none has yet been delivered.
In its 1997 business plan, Cirrus had set far loftier goals. Had those marks been reached, the company’s production would have hit 424 airplanes in 2000.
Cirrus has not managed to turn any profit, but it has met its bills with help from private investors, revenues from SR20 sales and down payments people have made to get in line for future airplanes.
Would-be owners of an SR20 have been required to put down $15,000 up front, and prospective SR22 pilots have been required to pony up $30,000.
Cirrus just announced that it is bumping up the price of its SR20 by 4.9 percent. It will now sell for a standard price of $197,600. The SR22 has a base price of $276,600.
Peter Passi covers business and development. He can be reached weekdays at (218) 279-5526 or by e-mail: