GAMA Reported 2019 Shipments, but Aviation Journalists Err in Assessing Cirrus Aircraft Marketing

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) published aircraft manufacturer shipments for 2019. After the report, Jim Moore, AOPA Editor-Web said, “Cirrus continues to lead the single-engine piston market by a wide margin, with sales of the SR22T alone climbing to 200 units in 2019, up from 180 delivered in in 2018. [But] Cirrus saw its older piston models slip in sales . . .  (1)”  I’m not sure Jim has seen the 6th Generation Cirrus SR20.  It’s cutting edge, not an older piston model.

Right now, the big General Aviation story is training aircraft shipments.  But Cirrus doesn’t focus on that market.  For decades, Cirrus has pursued a new market – piston personal transportation that delivers high performance, safety and luxury.  When specific customers are narrowly targeted business writers recognize it as market re-segmentation.

Cirrus SR Series shipments last year were 384 v. 380 in 2018, which scores another record for Cirrus Aircraft since the 2008 Great Recession (see Table 1).  A quick glance into the stats does show fewer SR20’s delivered last year 53 v. 65 in the prior period.  But here’s the rest of the story.

Cirrus reps have said, the company “suppresses” SR20 sales because that model has a lower margin than the SR22 Series.  If accurate, the manufacturing tactic is reflected in the stats.  Shipments for their highest margin product, the SR22T Turbo were up 11% over the prior year.  Normally aspirated SR22 production runs have averaged 132 units annually for the past half-decade.  Like other manufacturers, it appears Cirrus adjusts model production runs for optimal profitability.  For years, steady customer demand has maintained more than a 6-month delivery wait on 6th Generation SR Series airplanes.

For those new to the Cirrus brand here’s a recap: “In 2000, Cirrus received Type Certificate for a composite piston aircraft, with a larger wing and larger fuel capacity and more powerful engine – the SR22.  Just three years later, the SR22 became the world’s best-selling general aviation airplane . . . and has continued to hold that distinction every year since [17 years.  But] holding the title of the best-selling general aviation aircraft every year has not stopped Cirrus from pursuing continuous innovation on the SR Series aircraft (2).”  

For those watching, Cirrus is relentlessly pursuing a new market for single-engine turbofan personal transportation, which they coined “The Personal Jet.”  Cirrus is holding deposits from more than 500 pilots who want to take delivery; however, a ramp-up in production of the Cirrus SF50 Personal Jet has not yet begun.  This new market appears opaque to aviation journalists.  Many perceive incorrectly that Cirrus has entered the Very Light Jet market (VLJ).

Cirrus has over 7,800 aircraft operating in more than 60 countries.  Congratulations to the entire Cirrus Aircraft team.

Table 1. Historic Cirrus Aircraft Shipments

YearSF50 JetSR22 TurboSR22SR20SRVTotal
2019            81                 200              131                53               –                465 
2018            63                 180              135                65               –                443 
2017            22                 174              135                46               –                377 
2016               3                 149              133                35               –                320 
2015              –                   142              128                31               –                301 
2014              –                   160              117                31               –                308 
2013              –                   132              112                32               –                276 
2012              –                     88                81                84               –                253 
2011              –                   102              105                48               –                255 
2010              –                   107              115                42               –                264 
2009              –                   150                88                28               –                266 
2008              –                   250              177              115                7              549 
2007              –                   300              288              112              10              710 
2006              –                     30*              535              150                6              721 
2005              –                       –                475              116                9              600 
2004              –                       –                459                91                3              553 
2003              –                       –                355              112                2              469 
2002              –                       –                292              105               –                397 
2001              –                       –                124                59               –                183 
2000              –                       –                    –                  95               –                  95 
1999              –                       –                    –                     9               –                     9 
Total          169             2,164          3,985          1,459              37          7,814 

Note: Cirrus factory installed STC Tornado Alley Turbonormalized (TAT) shipments are not listed in GAMA statistics.  From 2006 – 2010, the FAA Registration for Cirrus planes with TAT systems is “SR22.”  See reference info. (3) below.


  1. Jim Moore, “Piston Trainer Surge Lifted GA Market.  GAMA: 2019 BizJet Deliveries Also at 10-Year High,” AOPA News & Videos, February 19, 2020
  2. Cirrus marketing website, About the Company, “History of Cirrus Aircraft,” www.CirrusAircraft.com, 2020
  3. * Jeffrey S. Brewer, “Cirrus has the best-selling Turbocharged Airplane,” statistics by year for factory installed Tornado Alley Turbo Normalized STC Shipments, phone interview Matt Bergwall, Cirrus Product Marketing Manager, www.wikiWings.com, circa April, 2014  

Copyright 2020 wikiWings LLC, All rights reserved
Connecting Aviators® and related marks and logos are property of wikiWings®

Cirrus G6 Digital Autopilot

“Supreme accuracy. Building on smart servo technology commonly found in multi-million-dollar business jets, the fully digital, dual channel Automated Flight Control System (AFCS) delivers precise lateral and vertical navigation guidance for each phase of flight. The optimal automatic yaw damper is engaged and disengaged automatically at 200 feet AGL, reducing pilot workload and ensuring a smooth ride.”

“Commanding the architecture of each flight component with an ergonomic and thoughtfully placed mode controller, the autopilot also incorporates the industry-leading Blue Level Button, a Cirrus Aircraft standard since 2008. This active safety feature gives the pilot a single touch autopilot-engage button to roll wings level and pitch to a level attitude if momentarily distracted or disoriented.”

“Flight deck automation you can appreciate and count on.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.18, 2017.

Cirrus Perspective+ Keypad Controller

“Designed to align the entire Cirrus family of aircraft and provide similarity between your aircraft and your personal electronic devices, the Cirrus Perspective+ keypad controller features a QWERTY keyboard with larger, more readable keys and additional, dedicated control knobs, including a button to bring you back to your default map. Welcome HOME.”

“Each button and knob is thoughtfully positioned to simplify interaction between the aircraft and the pilot through the intuitive layout and reduction of clutter. Responsive and simple, functions are easy to locate with shallow menus keeping the most frequently used functions at the top-level menu – allowing quick input without getting lost in the software.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.16, 2017.

Cirrus Aircraft G6 Flight Displays

“LED-backlit flight displays are powered by optimized, efficient and powerful processors running next generation software. Crisp imagery and quick response rates enhance the flight deck experience, making the text more readable and critical data transfer to the pilot instantaneous. Now your flight deck thinks just as fast as you do.”

“Cirrus Perspective+ incorporates speed and flexibility in the cockpit to view the status of various aircraft systems as well as checklists, animated weather radar, moving map, traffic and more – all at once. Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) provides a three-dimensional virtual image of ground and water features as well as obstacles and traffic.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.14, 2017.

Cirrus Aircraft Stall / Spin Barrier System

“From the very early stages of Cirrus development, stall and spin prevention has been central to [their] aircraft design, avionics development and flight training philosophy. Every Cirrus SR series aircraft incorporates the NASA-developed wing technology with a “cuffed” discontinuous leading edge designed to minimize the potential for spin entry after an inadvertent stall.”

“The [G6] digital, three-axis autopilot enables the Electronic Stability & Protection (ESP) system which passively and unobtrusively corrects unusual flight attitudes even when the autopilot is not engaged. Providing both aural and visual alerts, the ESP system displays a pre-stall CAS message warning while the yoke automatically pushes forward to correct low airspeed conditions. Automated ESP supports the pilot and works to prevent the aircraft from entering a stalled condition.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.13, 2017.

The Cirrus Life Personified

“Comfort, safety and utility combine for a lifestyle of profound richness.”

A message from Dale:

“Aviation was my passion from my earliest memories. I have always loved planes and flying. But even more so I love what flying lets my family and me do together. Whether it’s the time saved on business trips or creating great memories on a quick weekend ski trip to Colorado, these are the things I value the most about this amazing product we build. It’s the access to a very special lifestyle that defines the real benefits of owning a Cirrus.”

“For everyone who dreams of flight, our goal is to see them sitting in the pilot’s seat, making a Cirrus a part of their lives. That’s The Cirrus Life, and we hope to make it part of your life too.”

Dale Klapmeier, Co-founder and Senior Advisor, Cirrus Aircraft

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Life™ marketing brochure, p.32, 2017.

Precious Cargo

“The reasons you wouldn’t consider anything but “The Plane With the Parachute.”

“When you think about it, why would you consider an airplane that didn’t have a parachute? The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS®), standard on every Cirrus ever made, was part of the design of the airplane from the very beginning.”

“The goal: create the ultimate in personal flight safety from the ground up. The result: the Cirrus family of revolutionary personal aircraft.”

“The Cirrus Life is about the peace of mind knowing that you are flying in the only aircraft in the world with the ultimate safety feature – CAPS®.”

Happy passengers in Cirrus Aircraft SR22
Happy passengers in Cirrus Aircraft SR22

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Life™ marketing brochure, p. 21, 2017.

The Getaway.

“Making unforgettable weekend trips the norm, not the exception.”

“Just the two of you. At your home, the beach, the cabin or the mountains. Or the lake. Or perhaps the Bahamas. Nantucket. Catalina Island. Lake Tahoe. Vail. Every destination you desire within about 1,000 miles becomes a part of your non-stop domain when you are living The Cirrus Life. It all happens in luxury-car comfort and in a matter of hours, while making the phrase, ‘we should do this more often’ a forgotten notion of the past.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Life™ marketing brochure, p.16, 17, 2017.

The Closer.

“Getting the win because face-to-face beats a phone call or videoconference every time.”

“In business, when it really counts, is there any substitute for being there in person? Commercial air travel has become simply unmanageable in so many ways. And regional travel . . . it’s even worse. With service and route cutbacks making many destinations a “you can’t get there from here” proposition, unsatisfactory web conferencing and email solutions are the only options for most businesses.”

“But as a Cirrus owner, you become the master of your schedule”

“And master of opportunity.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Life™ marketing brochure, p.14, 15, 2017.

Goal!

“How do you decide between making an urgent meeting with an important client 300 miles away or catching your child’s league championship game? There are only so many magic moments in life. But, on the other hand, duty calls. And nothing beats getting face-to-face when it comes to opening a door, solving a client’s problem or closing a deal.”

“The Cirrus Life is about having it all by turning an overnight trek into a quick day trip. Cirrus ownership provides an efficient, safe and comfortable regional travel solution that lets you take care of business without having to compromise on the things that matter most.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Life™ marketing brochure, p.12, 2017.