Cirrus Industries Inc., parent company of Cirrus Aircraft, has been sold to China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. (CAIGA) of Zhuhai, China, but it appears the company will continue to build parts in Grand Forks, N.D., and assemble airplanes in Duluth, Minn. It has long been rumored that a Chinese company would acquire Cirrus and the final announcement was made Monday morning. CAIGA is a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC), the state-owned aviation company of China that makes everything from military jets to airliners. In a news release, Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters says the deal will be a shot in the arm for the company and for its employees in Grand Forks and Duluth. "CAIGA understands the strength and the talent of Cirrus's workforce and the prominence of the Cirrus brand in general aviation," Wouters said. "Through this transaction, CAIGA will invest in our employees in both Minnesota and North Dakota by committing to the continued use of our world-class production facilities."
Although it was not specifically mentioned in the news release, the transaction could result in an immediate acceleration of Cirrus's long-awaited Vision jet program. The single-engine jet project has stalled in recent years due to a lack of funding but Wouters has maintained throughout that an injection of investment capital would revive the jet. For its part, CAIGA says its focusing on the piston market with Cirrus. "We are very optimistic to begin our partnership with Cirrus and add Cirrus's strong brand as the cornerstone in our aviation product portfolio," said CAIGA President Meng Xiangkai. Cirrus was founded by Alan and Dale Klapmeier about 12 years ago and Dale Klapmeier is the current chairman. He said he was "thrilled" to make the announcement. "With this transaction, Cirrus will continue to develop and build the best, most exciting aircraft in the world," Klapmeier said. "The original dream remains alive and well at Cirrus. We are just embarking on our next chapter on a global stage."