Kate Sarsfield/LONDON

Cirrus Design has slashed by more than half the number of man-hours needed to build its single-engine light aircraft following a company restructuring earlier this year, which resulted in a 20% cut to its workforce.


Cirrus admits it has wrestled with financing and production start up problems, partly due to ramping up production last December to one aircraft a day. Production of the SR20 was consequently halted while the Duluth, Minnesota-based manufacturer concentrated on fulfilling orders for its newer SR22.

Ian Bentley, Cirrus director of sales support, says: "An aircraft was taking around 7,000h to build, well above our original target of 2,500h, and using far too many people - it was simply unsustainable.

The answer was to introduce more effective management practices and a streamlined production process without making significant engineering changes."

With the restructure now in place, Cirrus has resumed a production rate of one aircraft a day, with each model taking around 2,800h. Bentley adds: "We should reduce this time to 2,500h soon and then we shall see how low it can go."

Cirrus plans to ramp up production to one-and-a-half aircraft a day in the fourth quarter and two aircraft a day next year. "We are taking orders at a rate of one aircraft a day and have 411 orders for the [$197,600] SR20 and 210 for the [$276,600] SR22."

The company is also seeking to expand its sales force over the next six months and aims to make a profit by the end of the fourth quarter.

Source: Flight International