Cirrus Aircraft has announced a record year of growth and expansion in 2019, marked by its Vision Jet becoming the world's best-selling jet in general aviation. Deliveries of the Vision Jet surpassed 80 aircraft in 2019, representing a 29 per cent increase over the prior year, while consistent growth in SR Series deliveries resulted in a combined total of 465 aircraft shipments in 2019. With 384 aircraft delivered in 2019, the SR Series maintained its distinction as the best-selling high-performance piston aircraft in its segment for eighteen consecutive years. These combined gains in 2019 represent a 5% increase in total deliveries over 2018 and made it the fifth year in a row that Cirrus Aircraft has grown annual airplane shipments.
“Our growth is propelled each year by our mission to create an aviation experience that is defined by innovation and excellence,” says CEO Zean Nielsen. “Our team strives to advance personal aviation with smarter, more connected aircraft and our annual performance is reflective of how our strategy is resonating with customers from both inside and outside of aviation.”
2019 is the sixth consecutive year that Cirrus Aircraft has delivered more than 300 SR Series aircraft. Additionally, the Vision Jet continues to deliver into new global markets and has now surpassed 170 Vision Jets in service around the world. Expansion of Cirrus Services also fuelled enterprise growth, including the opening of a new Cirrus Aircraft facility in the Dallas Metroplex area. Finally, the total number of Cirrus employees grew by over 10% in 2019 as team members were added in all locations including Duluth, Minnesota; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Knoxville, Tennessee and McKinney, Texas.
In early 2019, the company announced the launch of the next generation G2 Vision Jet with enhanced performance, comfort and safety. Evolutionary features include increased cruise altitude, speed and range, along with a newly-upgraded Perspective Touch+ by Garmin flight deck. In addition to upgrades, several innovative technologies were added to the G2 Vision Jet, including a category-first autothrottle, Flight Stream connectivity and more. Interior amenities further enhanced the passenger experience with new executive seats, thoughtfully-engineered noise reduction and a passenger productivity console. Later in 2019, Cirrus Aircraft announced the upcoming addition of Safe Return, a revolutionary emergency Autoland system that enables passengers to land the Vision jet with just the touch of a single button.
“Relentless innovation is one of our core values,” states Pat Waddick, president, innovation and operations at Cirrus Aircraft. “Much like our first twenty years of re-imagining the SR Series with constant improvements to performance and safety, the G2 Vision Jet and addition of Safe Return are the culmination of that same spirit of innovation and a testament of our dedication to revolutionise the aviation experience in the many years ahead.”
In 2016, Cirrus Aircraft ushered in a new era in personal transportation with the FAA certification of the world's first single-engine personal jet, the Vision Jet. The turbine aircraft defined a new category in aviation with its spacious pilot and passenger-friendly cabin featuring panoramic windows, reclining seats, comfortable legroom for five adults and two children and twas he only turbine aircraft with a whole airframe parachute system as standard equipment. A new milestone in the journey of the Vision Jet was reached in 2018, with the historic win of the Robert J. Collier Trophy from the National Aeronautic Association.
In 2019, Cirrus Services expanded with the opening of two new facilities. Cirrus opened a new factory direct location in McKinney, Texas in early 2019 offering factory service, with additional services to include flight training, maintenance and aircraft management in the future. The company also opened a new factory service centre at its Vision Center Campus in Knoxville, Tennessee, increasing service centre capacity and opening up additional space for a dedicated paint and detail centre.
“Cirrus Services is our enterprise-wide commitment to innovation throughout the entire ownership experience,” explains Todd Simmons, president, customer experience. “Our team is working to continue developing a premium, comprehensive experience over a lifetime of ownership. Growing our training, service and support capabilities with additional facilities, locations and talent focuses more resources on delivering world-class care to make owning and operating a Cirrus rewarding, safe and simple for a lifetime.”
The launch of Cirrus Services in 2018 signified another milestone in Cirrus' ongoing plans to redefine the personal aviation ownership experience by providing world-class customer service for life. Cirrus Services recognises the customer's needs before, during and after initial aircraft delivery by combining flight training, service and support into a single, dedicated business unit. The dedicated group is focused on growing capabilities and offerings at the company's expanding list of factory direct centres, as well as through a network of authorised service and training partners across the globe.
Recognised as the first recipient of the Joseph T. Nell Safety Award from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Cirrus Aircraft continues to transform pilot training and safety with Cirrus Approach. As a comprehensive programme, Cirrus Approach provides ongoing training to new and experienced pilots with their lifestyle in mind through award-winning in-person and online training courses. The company has continued to innovate pilot training in recent years, with the launch of the redesigned cirrusapproach.com and the addition of Flight Fix, a unique monthly video podcast to further support its mission of “training as a lifestyle”. Over 16,000 pilots and owners have joined the programme as of early 2020.
Cirrus Embark, the company's transition training programme designed for new owners of pre-owned Cirrus aircraft, also continues to expand, exceeding 1,100 training completions awarded since its launch in 2017. This revolutionary programme provides Cirrus-specific, standardised differences and transition training for a licensed pilot who purchased a pre-owned Cirrus aircraft. Included in the programme are access to the Cirrus Approach Learning Portal, the Cirrus FOM and aircraft POH, access to the iFOM and one-on-one Cirrus Transition Training with an authorised Cirrus training provider.
Growth in overall facilities and employment was also noted across the company's locations, including significant expansion of career opportunities in engineering and product development. This growth includes plans to establish a new engineering design centre in Phoenix, Arizona.
The company's global customer experience centre, the Vision Center Campus, continues to grow with the inclusion of a state-of-the-art flight training centre, which features world-class FAA-approved Part 142 type rating training for the Vision Jet and a custom Level D full-motion simulator. Cirrus has currently issued over 330 Vision Jet type ratings.
In the autumn of 2019, Cirrus hosted its first Vision Pilots and Owners (VPO) symposium at its Vision Center, demonstrating a strong dedication to the owner community and continued sharing of learning and best practices for the world's first single-engine personal jet. Over 70 Vision Jet owners and operators attended the event, bringing over 40 Vision Jets from the worldwide fleet to the McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville for the inaugural event.