An airplane maintenance operation that opened in Duluth in 2012 celebrated a milestone Tuesday as it announced a new five-year contract and plans to grow.
AAR Corp. said it's served 100 airplanes with maintenance and overhaul services since moving into a hangar at the Duluth airport that Northwest Airlines vacated in 2005. The company currently employs about 300 workers who maintain Air Canada jets.
The company on Tuesday unveiled a five-year contract extension with Air Canada and said it plans to open a fourth maintenance line and hire another 50 workers in the next two months.
The five-year commitment is a big deal for Duluth, which has a growing aviation sector anchored by Cirrus Aircraft, Duluth Mayor Don Ness said.
The sector is expected to grow by 40 percent over the next four years, although AAR has found it challenging to recruit workers and find affordable housing for new employees.
"We are looking for more people to join us and to align their lives and their destinies with the AAR family for many years to come right here in Duluth," AAR Vice President Danny Kleiman said.