Air Canada signs MRO contract with Duluth provider

AAR, the aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company that has been providing MRO to Air Canada’s Airbus fleet since October 2012, has now signed a five-year exclusive contract with the airline to support its fleet of 89 Airbus 319, 320 and 321 narrow-body aircraft. The contract extends the work originally begun under a letter of intent signed in October 2012. The work, which was originally done at a facility in Miami will be carried out at AAR’s MRO facility at the Duluth International Airport in Minnesota.

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A ceremonial signing of the contract was held at the facility following completion of work on the 100th Air Canada aircraft. Executives of the two companies were joined by civic and state officials as well as Canada’s Consul General for the signing in the Duluth airport hangar. The hangar, which contains 188,000 square feet, had been abandoned before being reopened by AAR. The presence of political figures at the signing was meant to highlight the fact that public-private partnerships played a large part in the reopening of the facility.

AAR’s Duluth operation supports three lines of aircraft maintenance, with a fourth scheduled to be added in November. With the fourth line, it will employ 375 workers.

Air Canada’s Vice President, Maintenance and Engineering, Alan Butterfield, said that the company was “very pleased” with the work done by AAR, calling it “a quality solution” for its A320F maintenance needs.

AAR has facilities in Indianapolis, Miami, Oklahoma City, Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Lake Charles, Lousiana. It is ranked the number one MRO provider in the US, and number three in the world. Duluth is growing in importance as an aviation centre. Aviation manufacturing there is predicted  to grow by 40 per cent over the next five years by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Meanwhile, the Winnipeg MRO provider StandardAero has signed an extended maintenance agreement with West Atlantic Cargo Airlines. StandardAero will support the CF34 engines that power the airline’s fleet of CRJ-200 aircraft. It already services the airline’s PW126 engines. West Atlantic, Europe’s largest cargo airline, is located in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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