Aircraft Repair Co. Could Bring 225 Jobs to Duluth

AAR Corporation plans to occupy 152,000 square feet in the former Northwest Airlines' maintenance facility in Duluth.

The long-vacant space in Duluth that previously housed Northwest Airlines' maintenance operations has landed a new tenant-one that could bring more than 200 jobs to the city.

The City of Duluth announced Tuesday that Wood Dale, Illinois-based aircraft repair company AAR Corporation has signed a letter of intent, agreeing to take over the former Northwest facility.

AAR plans to occupy 152,000 square feet of the facility and indicated that it could hire up to 225 people if it operates at full capacity. Northwest abandoned its Duluth facility in 2005, according to media reports.

“This commitment is just the first step in what will be an incredible partnership with a successful and nationally recognized company,” Brian Hanson, executive director of the Duluth Economic Development Authority, said in a statement. “This project puts us in an excellent position to grow our economy and bring skilled jobs to Duluth.”

AAR is the largest independent provider of aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul services in North America, according to the city of Duluth. The company has annual revenue of roughly $2 billion and employs 6,200 people in 17 countries.

Dany Kleiman-group vice president who oversees AAR's maintenance, repair, and overhaul operations-said that the company hopes to become “an integral part of the Duluth business community in the coming months.”

AAR executive Danny Martinez told the Duluth News Tribune that jobs at the facility will pay between $30,000 and $80,000 per year, depending on the skills required. The lease is still being worked out, but if it proceeds quickly, the company could start hiring in Duluth this summer, the newspaper reported.

The deal the city struck with AAR reportedly involves a loan package worth approximately $5 million, including about $500,000 in the form of a forgivable loan, as well as roughly $1 million in assistance from the state via the Minnesota Investment Fund.