Cirrus Aircraft, a subsidiary of China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co since 2011, announced that new customer aircraft deliveries for the company’s SR family of piston singles jumped to over 350 aircraft in 2017, up from 317 aircraft in 2016.
Production of the SR20/SR22 family reached over 700 aircraft in both 2006 and 2007, making it the most popular four-seat single on the market. Production fell sharply during the last recession as credit tightened and private pilots pulled back on expenditures. It fell below 270 aircraft in 2009, less than 40 percent of its pre-recession high. Production remained below this level in 2010, 2011, and 2012. It was not until 2013 that production at the company broke the 270-unit mark for the first time since the end of the recession.
Production topped 300 aircraft each year during 2014-2017, and we forecast production to remain at or above the current rate of production until at least 2020. Cirrus has continued to update the SR family, most recently introducing the “Generation 5” SR22 that features a fifth seat and a 200-pound (90-kg) increase in gross weight. Cirrus believes that adding a fifth seat will add to the type’s appeal with Part 135 commercial operators. Cirrus offers on onboard parachute system with each aircraft it sells. It is an innovation that has saved lives, but so far other manufacturers have not followed the company’s lead.
The company is also ramping up production of the SF50 Vision Jet, a single-engine, turbofan-powered aircraft that competes against single-engine turboprops like Daher’s TBM 910/930 family. Deliveries of the SF50 began in 2016, and the worldwide fleet had reached 25 aircraft by the end of 2017.
At around $2 million typically equipped, the aircraft is far more expensive than the company’s piston models. Unlike other piston manufacturers, Cirrus never introduced a six-seat model or twin-engine aircraft to provide owners of the SR20/SR22 family with an upgrade path. Instead it offered a jet that provides roughly the same capacity at a higher level of performance. So far the decision appears to be paying off. In early 2017, Cirrus reported that about 75 percent of SF50 orders had come from current Cirrus piston owners.
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