Aircraft maintenance lease could mean 100 jobs for Duluth

The Duluth aircraft maintenance facility was previously used by AAR. The Duluth aircraft maintenance facility was previously used by AAR. |  Photo: WDIO-TV file

Jon Ellis, WDIO-TV
Updated: September 15, 2020 05:16 PM

The Duluth Economic Development Authority has found a new company to use its aircraft maintenance facility, potentially bringing dozens of jobs to the city - if a federal contract is awarded.


DEDA is slated to vote Friday on a short-term lease agreement with Borsight, Inc. The Utah-based company would use the 189,000-square-foot hangar at the Duluth International Airport that was previously occupied by AAR Aircraft Services.

The resolution says Borsight would use the facility to provide maintenance service for F-16 aircraft, providing the company is awarded a contract by the U.S. Air Force. The lease would only take effect of Borsight gets the contract and needs the space.

City of Duluth Public Information Officer Kate Van Daele said if Borsight gets the bid, it would mean about 100 new jobs for Duluth.

The company does not expect to find out if it will receive the contract until early 2021, according to the resolution, and will not know whether they need the leased space until the bid is awarded. They are required to have the lease in hand as part of the bidding process.

The lease agreement calls for a rate of $126,825 per month. There is a March 31, 2021, deadline to exercise the lease, which would then be in effect for one year.

The resolution says Borsight has indicated that there is a possibility that the initial lease could be the basis of a longer-term relationship, "depending on the progression of the federal contract and the way work progresses in Duluth."

Part of the facility is currently being used temporarily by Cirrus, with a lease ending June 30, 2021. A lease agreement says Borsight is willing to share the use of the facility until Cirrus' lease expires.

AAR had employed about 275 people at the facility until closing suddenly earlier this year due to a drop in demand amid the pandemic and ensuing economic slowdown. It had been in Duluth since 2012.

The aircraft maintenance facility was originally constructed for Northwest Airlines, which left in 2005. Cirrus also briefly used the space in 2008 and 2009.


Jon Ellis, WDIO-TV

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


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