Pemco sends layoff notice to 474 workers, sells company to equity firm

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Pemco World Air Services has agreed to be acquired by Avion Services Holdings, an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, Inc. In a separate action, the MRO has filed a layoff notice affecting 474 maintenance workers at its facility at Tampa International Airport.

William Meehan, chief executive of Pemco World Air Services, tells Flightglobal that the reason for the layoffs is due to a "pull-down" in heavy maintenance from United Airlines.

He says that Pemco had been aware that half of this reduction was coming, while it had not foreseen the remainder of the work shifting away from its facility. Pemco performs heavy checks for United Airbus A320s, Boeing 767s and Boeing 757s.

"We regularly review our vendor relationships and recently determined it was more efficient to shift this business elsewhere," says United in a statement.

Meehan says that about 60% of the maintenance workers affected by the notice are Pemco employees, and the remaining 40% are contractors.

The chief executive says that it remains to be seen if all 474 workers will lose their jobs. He says he is hopeful that most of them will regain employment in the coming months with Pemco.

"We really believe that by about three months from now we'll be at about the same levels," says Meehan. He adds, "We do anticipate getting United back with just as many lines very quickly."

United did not comment on where it plans to shift the heavy maintenance work.

Pemco filed for bankruptcy protection on 5 March.

On 5 August, the maintenance, repair and overhaul company filed an amended asset purchase agreement to the Delaware bankruptcy court stating it would sell the company to Avion Services Holdings, a subsidiary of Sun Capital Partners, Inc. Pemco says it expects the transaction to close before the end of August.

VT Aerospace, the US-based aerospace arm of ST Engineering, was poised to take over Pemco's Tampa facility after making a successful bid for a purchase consideration of $49.7 million and $6.2 million in selected liabilities.

However, VT Aerospace announced today it has terminated its agreement to purchase the facility and its assets, which received court approval on 18 June.

"The decision to terminate the agreement was made after certain closing conditions could not be fulfilled by the seller prior to the closing deadline," says VT Aerospace in a statement.

Pemco's 29,729m² (320,000ft²) MRO facility at Tampa International Airport includes hangar and office space. The MRO started operating at Tampa International Airport in 2008 and has expanded its hangar capacity to accommodate between 10 to 12 narrowbody aircraft, or up to six widebodies.