Last Modified: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 10:47 AM
Illinois-based AAR Corp. is giving its aircraft mechanics the option to transfer to two other AAR facilities until the company finds more work to bring to Lake Charles.
“We’re waiting for that one big customer,” Danny Martinez, AAR vice president of technical services, told the American Press on Monday.
The workers will be temporarily transferred to other AAR facilities for 30 days, Martinez said.
“I have a gap in time before that first customer — if we can nail it — becomes available, which will be at the end of the month,” he said. “We’re committed to Lake Charles and we want to hang on to our employees, so an option was to, for those that are able, allow them to go and work in (Indiana or Minnesota).”
About 80 mechanics are employed at AAR in Lake Charles. When Aeroframe’s lease with Chennault International Airport was terminated in August of 2013 and turned over to AAR, the new partnership was estimated to support a 750-job aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul operation.
“We have a ways to go to get to the 750,” he said. “That’s part of what we’re doing. We know we’re going to hit here sooner or later, but we have to also offset our costs.”
In order to solidify AAR’s presence at Chennault, the state offered AAR an incentive package that included a $2 million performance-based grant. In October 2013, AAR was given a 10-year tax exemption from the Calcasieu Parish School Board — a request that was denied to Aeroframe in May, three months before the company ceased operations and couldn’t pay its workers for their last two weeks of work.
“The unique thing about what we walked into here was that the facility was operating when we took over the lease,” he said.
He said employees were hired to finish the aircraft in anticipation for a new customer.
For the mechanics who opt not to transfer to another facility, they will remain in Lake Charles and receive more training.
Posted By: Travis On: 3/21/2014
Title: Lifted up to be let down again.
I also was a employee of AAR and was laid off in February. The first day of Orientation upto being laid off we were told that AAR would never lay off direct employees so do not ever worry over it. Why are the people who were laid off and given such a wonderful speech about being a valued employee and "family" by the upper management, yet we were not offered a chance to relocate until business picks up. So what are we suppose to do until then?
Posted By: john On: 3/19/2014
I was a an employee at AAR. There is not about 80 employees. There was a Lay off in February that reduced that number to around 50. Those that were laid off were not given an option to transfer nor have any other training to help keep us at work. We were told that the lay off was going to be for about 45 days but it seems like it is going to be much longer. In fact, during an all hands meeting when they notified the then 80 employees that we were being laid off that if AAR doesn't land the contract at the end of march then the next contract will be in October. There is going to be alot of unemployed people if that's the case. Good luck to everyone.