Alaska Airlines and AAR Partner to Tackle MRO Workforce Shortage

Credit: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines and AAR have formed a partnership aimed at tackling the aviation maintenance technician (AMT) shortage and increasing workforce diversity. The companies have created a program that they say is the first of its kind between an airline and an aviation services provider to focus on education, training and recruiting new workers from diverse backgrounds.

Under the Flow Through Program, applicants will first complete training and move into a role at an AAR maintenance facility. Once the applicant has completed three years as an aircraft technician, they will then qualify to apply for a career opening at one of Alaska’s 14 maintenance bases, including a guaranteed interview if they are in good standing at AAR.

Nathan Engel, interim vice president of Maintenance & Engineering at Alaska Airlines, says the airline is “in a unique position to strengthen the talent pipeline through recruitment of groups historically underrepresented in aviation” and that the partnership is part of its work to meet its diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

The airline has committed to help create career pathways for at least 175,000 young people by 2025. These efforts include an expansion of its internship program, the creation of more college partnerships to support a diverse workforce pipeline, and work with groups such as Girls Rock Wings and the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals.

“The aviation maintenance technician shortage continues to grow as so many are retiring or leaving the business,” says Stan Mayer, general manager, AAR Airframe Maintenance in Oklahoma City. “We believe the Alaska Airlines Flow Through Agreement will help to attract new and upcoming technicians, and with our 19-year relationship, it only makes sense to help each other.”

As part of its efforts to diversify the workforce, AAR partnered earlier this year with nonprofit VIPER Transitions to launch an aircraft maintenance workforce program to help service members transition from military to civilian life via MRO careers. It also launched a gender equity initiative at its Miami, Florida facility to increase representation of women in aircraft maintenance careers and study how to make these career paths more attainable and inviting to women.

Lindsay Bjerregaard

Lindsay Bjerregaard is managing editor for Aviation Week’s MRO portfolio. Her coverage focuses on MRO technology, workforce, and product and service news for, Aviation Week Marketplace and Inside MRO.