New money for Northeast Minnesota aviation

Bolstered by federal and local grants to aviation, Cirrus Aircraft is holding a three-day symposium this week in Duluth with more than 250 service, training, and vendor partners.

Cirrus Spokesperson Valerie Blanchenay said company officials will update their partners on the state of the business and discuss 2011 planning.

MPR blogger Bob Collins noted a couple of weeks ago that Cirrus is looking for an “investor.” It’s no secret the company has put its new personal jet project into a go-slow mode until the cash is flowing better.

Last week, the local and federal governments stepped up with a bunch of cash intended for the region’s aviation industry.

A new Commerce Department Grant is reported on the BusinessNorth web.

That’s $1.4-million from the Commerce Department, and a $772,000 match from local governments and organizations. The more than $2-million combined is intended primarily to foster the region’s aviation industry — which so far has pretty much been Cirrus Aircraft and their local suppliers and support businesses.

That’s a pretty big vote of confidence. Now we’ll see if there really are other aviation businesses out there just waiting for the cash to get started.

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