Duluth Region Gaining Reputation As Aviation Hub

By KBJR News 1

March 2, 2012 Updated Mar 2, 2012 at 4:05 PM CDT

Duluth, MN - (Northland's NewsCenter) - With announcement that Kestrel will be coming to Superior, the opening of AAR in the old Northwest Airlines maintenance building, the growth of Cirrus and the announcement the 148Th Air National Guard becoming an active association...aviation is quickly becoming force to reckon with in the Northland.

"There's more aviation activity, and by virtue, a more economic activity associated with aviation...that is absolutely a good thing for the Duluth community," says Cirrus Aircraft Vice President for Marketing, Todd Simmons.

The region is quickly developing a reputation for aviation.

"The reputation is getting out there that Duluth is a serious community, a serious region for additional aviation related opportunities," says Executive Director for the Duluth Airport Authority, Brian Ryks.

Dale and Alan Klapmeier brought aviation to Duluth with the opening of Cirrus Aircraft.

Since then Alan branched off, and started Kestrel Aircraft...the aviation corporation bring 600 jobs to the Northland.

"Klapmeier moving over and starting Kestrel is just going to grow that. It is going to make Duluth a hub of general aviation activity...that's good for the community," Simmons said.

Bringing more jobs in aviation to the area.

"There's a lot of different jobs. To start with, its engineers and technicians that are building prototypes and test parts for certification. Later on, eventually, there will be more traditional composite manufacturing jobs, similar to other jobs in the area," says CEO of Kestrel Aircraft, Alan Klapmeier.

In order to prepare for those jobs, schools and universities are adapting their programs to students interested in aviation...and with that kind of education...the sky's the limit.

"Students today are going to be leaders in this business tomorrow, and that's not far away," Simmons says.

"There are tremendous steps being taken to engage young people in aviation careers to prepare them for jobs right here in this community," says Ryks.

Jobs that are only going to increase as the region cements it's reputation as a place to take flight.

Executive Director for the Duluth Airport Authority, Brian Ryks, says they have continually been making investments in their infrastructure so they would be ready to support incoming aviation business in the region.

Written for the web by Danyel Piecek.