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AAR confirms plans to close Duluth facility

AAR confirms plans to close Duluth facility Photo: WDIO-TV file

Updated: May 21, 2020 03:55 PM

AAR Aircraft Services has confirmed plans to permanently close its Duluth maintenance facility, affecting about 275 employees.

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The formal announcement came in a WARN notice sent to the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development and Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, which was made public Thursday.  AAR had already furloughed a large portion of its Duluth workforce.

"Due to the unforeseen business circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating effects on the commercial airline industry, our primary customer has informed us that we will receive no new maintenance projects at this site for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, we have been forced to close our Duluth location," the notice says.

The company said it is offering severance and healthcare continuation to all employees.

AAR had opened the maintenance facility at the Duluth International Airport in 2012.  Just last year, it had renewed its lease with the Duluth Economic Development Authority and announced plans to stay in Duluth for at least 20 more years.

Mayor Emily Larson said the community has invested a significant amount of time and attention into helping AAR be successful, and vice versa. She said new financial realities are forcing everyone to make incredibly difficult decisions.

"I know that AAR understands the impact of this decision. That it impacts workers, families, students, the aviation sector and our community. I thank them for being an exceptional employer and I am very hopeful Duluth continues to be of interest as they strategize their re-emergence from here. In the meantime, the City of Duluth and DEDA will continue to monitor the airline maintenance industry, and CareerForce is available to help AAR employees transition and identify next steps," Larson said.

The company had worked with Lake Superior College to train students for careers in the aviation industry.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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