Cirrus Sees Signs of a Turnaround

Cirrus SR22

Cirrus Aircraft reported a modest turnaround in third quarter, announcing it built 68 new airplanes in the period, seven more than during the third quarter of 2010. Only 48 of these were included in the General Aviation Manufacturers Association's third quarter industry report, released on Monday, but Cirrus said an additional 20 uncounted aircraft rolled out of its factory in Duluth, Minnesota, and are currently in transit to the Civil Aviation Flight University of China (CAFUC) in Luoyang, China.

Still, 68 airplanes in Q3 is a far cry the 200 or so Cirrus SR20s and Cirrus SR22s the company had been producing each quarter before the economic downturn. In fact, through the first nine months of this year, Cirrus hasn't hit the 200 mark yet: it has built only 186 airplanes through the first three quarters, even including the 20 produced for the Chinese flight training customer.

From a market-share standpoint, however, Cirrus said it built 37 percent of all single-engine piston, tricycle-gear, certified aircraft, versus 32 percent for its closest competitor, Cessna. The company also said it holds a 77-percent share of the high-performance, four-seat airplane market. Thanks to strengthening margins, average revenue per aircraft built increased 20 percent compared with last year’s third quarter.

Todd Simmons, executive vice president for Cirrus, said the company is optimistic about growth to training providers as flight schools indicate a preference for Cirrus products. That sentiment was underscored by the recent purchase of 20 SR20s by the U.S. Air Force for primary training.

“At the same time, we are still facing the challenge of a stubbornly slow recovery in the traditional North American and European general aviation markets, and currency fluctuations and economic uncertainty remain present in so many countries around the world,” Simmons noted. Still, he said, “There has never been a better time to buy an airplane as our piston aircraft product portfolio is best-in-class. An SR20, SR22 or SR22T is a smart investment.”


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