By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
Cirrus Aircraft and China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., Ltd. (CAIGA) announced on Tuesday that the two companies have completed their merger. "This partnership will benefit our business and our customers," said Brent Wouters, Cirrus CEO. "We share with CAIGA a vision of worldwide growth. CAIGA has the resources that will allow us to expedite our aircraft development programs and accelerate our global expansion." He said he expects the merger will make it possible for Cirrus to expand its facilities and staff in Minnesota and North Dakota. Dale Klapmeier, Cirrus co-founder, said the completion of the merger was an important milestone in the company's history, and will make it possible for the company to "continue to lead the industry in bringing increased safety, performance, and comfort to the general aviation community."
The deal caused considerable angst in the aviation community when it was announced in the spring, raising fears that the company would close down its U.S. operations and move to China. "Not gonna happen," Klapmeier said in April. A Minnesota congressman, Chip Cravaack, raised questions about the deal, citing national-security concerns. "His concerns are unfounded," Klapmeier said in April, and apparently regulators have agreed. Klapmeier also said in April that moving forward with the Vision jet project is the top priority both for Cirrus and CAIGA. In Tuesday's announcement, CIAGA President Meng Xiangkai said, "We are very impressed with Cirrus' performance in the global general aviation industry. It has a very strong record of consistent product excellence, comprehensive safety features, an outstanding management team and a highly skilled workforce who operate from advanced production facilities. We look forward to working with Cirrus' management team to build upon its success and to expand production volume to further cement Cirrus' leadership position in the global general aviation industry."