AAR will open its new maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Minnesota's Duluth International Airport by the end of the year, the company says.

The 188,000 square ft (17,465 sq m) facility, previously operated by Northwest Airlines, is expected to open in December with a launch customer that has not been disclosed.

The Duluth facility will focus on narrowbody heavy maintenance capabilities, which AAR says will grow its total airframe maintenance capacity by 10%.

The facility will start offering one line of maintenance at first, says AAR. It expects the facility to be at full capacity by the end of 2013, with four narrowbody maintenance lines running simultaneously.

AAR has begun hiring aviation maintenance technicians for the facility. It anticipates needing about 60 to 70 maintenance workers to scale up the facility for one maintenance line, with the possibility of offering up to 225 jobs if the facility reaches full capacity.

Christopher Eng, director of business and economic development for the Duluth Economic Development Authority (DEDA), says that AAR moved into the facility on 30 June - the first new tenants in almost seven years. Eng says that AAR has a five-year lease on the facility, which DEDA owns. When it opens, the AAR hangar will be the only heavy maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Duluth International.

AAR signed a letter of intent with the city of Duluth to open the new MRO location in April.

AAR also has heavy maintenance facilities in Miami, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and Hot Springs, Arkansas. It also has component repair facilities in Garden City, New York and in Amsterdam.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news