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Tue, Jul 19, 2011

Cirrus Chinese Connection Draws Attention

'100% Communist' Ownership Of Manufacturer Called Out By Washington Times

The purchase by Cirrus Aircraft by CAIGA, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Ltd., has not gone unnoticed by the general news media. The Washington Times, which often takes editorial positions which often pose counterpoints to the more liberal and better-known Washington Post, highlighted the new Chinese ownership of Cirrus in reporting a purchase by the US Air Force of a customized version of the SR20 to be the service's newest trainer.

USAF SR20 Cirrus Photo

As ANN reported July 7, the Air Force Academy will receive 25 SR20 aircraft - designated as T-53A trainers in the customized configuration - starting this summer and continuing through 2012, in a deal reported to be worth $6.1 million.

The Times reports as a "problem" that the aircraft maker's parent company is 100 percent owned by the Chinese communist government. Except for a brief challenge by Minnesota Republican Representative Chip Cravaak, who warned the US Treasury Department in March that the sale could compromise national security, the China angle was largely passed over in reporting of the deal.

But the Times notes the same was not true in China: "The Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece newspaper Peoples Daily last Tuesday called the transaction 'revolutionary' because it marked the first time the US Air Force ordered an entire set of aircraft from China for military training equipment."

USAF SR20 Cirrus Photo

In what may come as unwelcome news to economic development officials in Duluth, the Times also found a report in the government-controlled English newspaper China Daily which said, "the acquisition of Cirrus will be an important step for [CAIGA's] global expansion plan, which aims to set up R&D, sales and service centers in China, the U.S. and Europe. The company currently has its manufacturing base in Zhuhai, Guangdong province."

Given the credit facilities and other resources the Chinese government is putting behind its state-owned companies to buy US aviation manufacturing assets at their current depressed prices, these stories may not be front-page news much longer.



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