Cirrus Sells, Mooney Borrows

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With the FAA paying deserved attention to the maintenance of aging aircraft, companies still selling new aircraft are reporting good news this week; Mooney and Cirrus both had reason to celebrate. Cirrus set a sales record by delivering 62 planes in October and brought its three-month total to 222 airplanes. By comparison, it took Cessna a full year to sell 559 piston singles in 2002. Cirrus Marketing VP John Bingham said the news isn't just good news for Cirrus, it's good for the whole industry. "We're breathing new life into an industry whose growth was projected to be flat for a decade," he said. Over at Mooney, a $5 million cash infusion is breathing more life into its resurrection. The company got the 25-year loan from BLX Commercial Capital LLC and it's guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition to the government guarantee, Mooney had to put its type certificate up as collateral for BLX. Mooney CEO Nelson Happy said the loan will allow the retirement of some short-term debt and free up money to be used in daily operations. Company Chairman Sam Rothman said the financial rearrangement is "an important step in paving the way for stronger financial performance next year."