Is Northland On Its Way To Becoming Major Hub Of Aviation Manufacturing?
Keep bringing jobs to the Northland! We certainly started off the new year on a positive note in that regard.
Will the Twin Ports become an aviation hub?
The announcement Monday that Alan Klapmeier’s Kestrel Aircraft Co. will build its manufacturing plant in Superior is creating believers.
Klapmeier, co-founder and former CEO of Duluth-based Cirrus Aircraft, says his new company will create hundreds of jobs in Superior building a propeller plane that can move six or more people as quickly as a small jet but with less fuel consumption and greater flexibility.
With Cirrus in Duluth and Kestrel in Superior, the Twin Ports will be a two-airplane manufacturing community, boosting business for local suppliers and creating hundreds of jobs that will help the local economy grow.
“We are positioning ourselves as a major center for manufacturing general aviation aircraft,” said Rob West, CEO of the Area Partnership for Economic Development. “It really puts this region, the Twin Ports, on the general aviation map.”
Klapmeier, who co-founded Cirrus in the 1990s, knows what he’s doing by establishing another manufacturing plant in the Twin Ports, said Drew Digby, regional labor market analyst for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
“Klapmeier knew the talent base was available here,” Digby said. “He already started one successful business here.”
But the impact is bigger than jobs, he said.
“If all the plans come through, it will be fantastic for this area and region,” he said, “because we’ll have a critical mass of aviation activities going that will make people excited about all that’s going on.”