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Cirrus Aircraft had a record year, selling 80 of its new and tiny personal jets to customers around the world.

The Duluth-based manufacturer that is owned by Chinese Aviation Industry General Aircraft saw jet sales grow 29% between 2018 and 2019, officials said.

Cirrus delivered 80 of its new Vision Jets plus 384 of its traditional line of SR Series aircraft last year. The combined gains represented a 5% boost in deliveries and marked the company's fifth year of growth. The uptick is welcomed by officials who remembered a decade ago when the survival of the Cirrus brand was in question.

The company in 2016 introduced the SF50 Vision jet, which it said was the first single-engine personal jet and expanded Cirrus' product reach beyond propeller planes.

The same year, Cirrus opened a $12.7 million finishing plant in Duluth and employs more than 1,000, mainly in Duluth, Grand Forks, N.D., and Knoxville, Tenn.

The company has now sold 170 of its new $2 million, carbon-fiber jets. The product comes with a parachute and room to seat five adults.

"Our growth at Cirrus Aircraft is propelled each year by our mission to create an aviation experience that is defined by innovation and excellence," said Cirrus CEO Zean Nielsen, who took the reins from co-founder Dale Klapmeier eight months ago. "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."

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725