Cirrus Introduces FIKI, Announces Layoffs

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Cirrus Design will announce a series of model changes for 2009 today, including certified flight into known icing for the SR22. A news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Central time in which the company will unveil details of the FIKI system, which will be an enhancement of the current TKS set-up now available. There's a larger tank of fluid and more surfaces with the weeping surface. Other enhancements to the product line will include avionics options based on the Perspective glass panel. AVweb's podcast interview with Cirrus spokesman Ian Bentley will go live at 11 a.m. EST. The product enhancement announcement comes three days after Cirrus cut production to eight planes a week, laid off 50 administration staff and extended the furlough period of 100 of 500 employees who were just getting back to work after a month-long furlough.

Company spokesman Bill King told the Grand Forks Herald that a worse set of economic circumstances than anticipated a couple of months ago led to the staffing adjustments. King didn't mince words about the need for the staff cuts. "That's what all this cutting and streamlining is about — we've got to weather the storm. Otherwise, there's not going to be a Cirrus Design," he said.