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Cirrus Aircraft to invest $15M, create 170 jobs at facility located at Knoxville's McGhee Tyson Airport

Cirrus Aircraft will invest $15 million and create 170 jobs at a Knoxville “Vision Center” that will be the “epicenter and flagship location for all Cirrus Aircraft pilot, owner and customer activities." Cirrus’ Knoxville facility will house sales, delivery, training, maintenance, support, personalization, fixed base operations, social events, and more, according to the company. Research and development as well as manufacturing operations for Cirrus Aircraft will remain in Duluth. ( Más...

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lavalampluva 1
"Research and development as well as manufacturing operations for Cirrus Aircraft will remain in Duluth."

Let's see how long that holds true.

Philip Muth 1
Well, Cirrus DID originate in Barbaoo, WI so they're kinda tied to the region.
layman85 1
Any insight as to why this project wouldn't have been colocated with manufacturing in Duluth? Obviously the weather is better at TYS, but that's a decent amount of logistical cost associated with opening a separate delivery center...
carlsonbe 1
BEGIN QUOTE: Asked about incentives offered to attract Cirrus to East Tennessee, state Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd said these still were being negotiated.

However, some steps made to bring Cirrus to McGhee Tyson have been announced. State Sen. Doug Overbey (RMaryville), along with Republican representatives Art Swann and Bob Ramsey, sponsored legislation in the Tennessee General Assembly this year to clear a legal hurdle for the aircraft manufacturer.

Senate Bill 847 gives manufacturers of helicopters and airplanes or related equipment 30 days instead of 15 to move the products out of state before they would be subject to sales and use taxes.

Cirrus also will take part in the Tennessee Manufacturing Innovation Program, called RevV, which is administered by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The program offers vouchers that give companies access to ORNL facilities and expertise when they have technical challenges.

Thom Mason, ORNL director, said the vouchers range from $50,000 to $250,000.

“We will be having a RevV grant that will allow Cirrus to access some of the lab facilities like our supercomputers, our carbon fiber facilities, materials, and tackle some of the challenges that they may face,” he said.

In its hometown, Cirrus is seeking $4 million from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development toward a proposed $8 million finishing center in Duluth for the new jet. But the Minnesota House of Representatives so far only has authorized $3 million, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Bill Marrison, president of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, said airport authority board member Jeff W. Smith did much to spearhead the yearlong effort to recruit Cirrus to McGhee Tyson.

Klapmeier told the crowd that production will remain in Duluth, but the company wanted to build a facility farther south, in a warmer climate, for its customers to receive aircraft and train on them. Initially, Cirrus was considering 30 airport locations in 15 states. Klapmeier said the company wanted a location that not only met its needs but would give customers a pleasant place to stay. When the Vision jet is available, customers picking them up at McGhee Tyson will need to spend 10 to 15 days learning to fly them.

Having Cirrus’ presence in East Tennessee will be a boon in several ways, Smith said.

“These people sell more general aviation aircraft than any other general aviation aircraft manufacturer,” he said. “That is one thing. The second is, they are the first company that is going to deliver a general aviation jet. They will start deliveries of those this year and all of these aircraft they sell, they are going to deliver to their customers from here. So when you think of it, this is their showroom; it’s their dealership.”

The average annual income of customers who will be coming in to buy one of the jets is $20 million, Smith said.

“Those people are going to be coming in and staying in the community for a period of time and my goal is to develop relationships with some of them that will eventually lead to them considering repositioning some of their small businesses here,” Smith said.

The Knoxville facility will include a full-motion flight simulator currently under development and other fixed training devices. It will also contain a factory service center as well as a design center, allowing buyers to personalize and create their Vision SF50, Ben Kowalkski, vice president of marketing for Cirrus, noted the convenience of the location.

“We are calling it a campus,” he said. “One of the things that was so appealing to us is that you can literally land here and not use your car for the next two weeks. You can walk to the hotel; you can walk to our facility.”
Cirrus Aircraft

Copyright 2015 Journal Media Group. All rights reserved.
Jeff Lawson 1
Avweb was speculating that they wanted a more temperate climate to allow customer to feel more comfortable accepting delivery during more times of the year.
I would also suggest that KTYS is more or less centrally located than Duluth making the trip shorter for many customers, essp those in the southeast US. I also would not be surprised if the City of Knoxville or State of TN offered some nice subsidies or tax breaks.
chalet 1
All of $ 15 million for all of this, they got to be kidding that hardly covers a new paint shop and perhaps the welcome matt: "Research and development as well as manufacturing operations for Cirrus Aircraft will remain in Duluth."


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