Duluth-based plane maker Cirrus Aircraft has agreed to be acquired by a Chinese company, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., Ltd. (CAIGA).
Cirrus pioneered parachute-equipped aircraft that allow the entire plane to float to the ground in the event of an emergency. The company is now trying to develop a personal jet aircraft.
Below is a brief history of the aircraft company:
1984: Cirrus Aircraft is founded by Alan and Dale Klapmeier, who began tinkering with user-friendly, homemade planes in the mid-80s.
1994: Cirrus moves headquarters and begins operations out of Duluth, Minn.
1999: Cirrus begins mass-producing its small planes.
2001: Cirrus accounts for 11 percent of the market for single-engine piston planes
August 2001: Cirrus sells 58 percent of the company for $100 million to Crescent Capital, the U.S. arm of the First Islamic Investment Bank of Bahrain (now called Arcapita).
September 2008: The global sales slump in piston-engine aircraft impacted the company and they laid off 100 workers, or 8 percent of their workforce. This included 79 people at the main plant in Duluth, Minnesota and 29 employees at the composite construction plant in Grand Forks, N.D. (Further layoffs followed).
April 29, 2009: Cirrus announces that it is increasing production from the previous 3-4 aircraft per week back to 6 aircraft per week.
June 1, 2009: Cirrus announces it is recalling 50 workers and boosting production to 8 aircraft per week.
August 1, 2009: Cirrus Aircraft CEO Brent Wouters announces that Alan Klapmeier's contract as Chairman of the Board would not be renewed when it expires at the end of the month.
Late August 2009: Cirrus announces that it is laying off 85 employees, mostly office workers.
November 2009: Cirrus lays off an additional 58 workers, or 10 percent of the remaining payroll.
June 2010: Cirrus begins paying back-rent owed to the city of Grand Forks. Cirrus had stopped paying its rent 16 months earlier. The company also owes the city of Duluth back rent, which the city has indicated they will forgive in exchange for job creation.
February 28, 2011: Cirrus announces that it is being acquired by a Chinese company, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., Ltd. (CAIGA).