Alaska Airlines is teaming up with MRO major AAR to create a pipeline for qualified airline maintenance technicians for the Seattle-based airline.
The Flow Through Program is the first of its kind between an airline and an aviation services provider to focus on education and career training and recruit new workers from diverse backgrounds.
The partnership comes in the backdrop of the fact that demand for qualified airline maintenance technicians (AMT) will outpace supply as early as 2022. Over the next 20 years, Boeing forecasts 739,000 technicians are needed globally, and 192,000 are needed in North America alone.
“We are in a unique position to strengthen the talent pipeline through recruitment of groups historically underrepresented in aviation,” said Nathan Engel, interim vice president of Maintenance & Engineering at Alaska Airlines. “AAR has made incredible strides with its focus on recruiting diverse candidates, and this partnership is an example of how we’re working to meet our diversity, equity and inclusion goals to diversify our talent pool. We’re eager to see these skilled technicians wearing an Alaska Airlines uniform as the next step in their career.”
Under the program, applicants complete their training and feed into a role at an AAR maintenance facility. If the applicant is in good standing and has completed three years with AAR as an aircraft technician, they qualify to apply to a career opening at Alaska and are guaranteed an interview. Alaska has 14 maintenance-staffed bases across its network.
“The Aviation Maintenance Technician shortage continues to grow as so many are retiring or leaving the business,” said Stan Mayer, general manager at AAR Airframe Maintenance in Oklahoma City, OK. “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.”
AAR also recruits future technicians through its Eagle Pathway program, which focuses on engaging students from diverse backgrounds for an AMT career path. In 2020, AAR launched a pilot program to mentor and develop a cohort of 20 women in aviation maintenance at its aircraft repair facility in Miami. AAR also provides job opportunities for military veterans and active-duty personnel transitioning to civilian aviation maintenance careers.
Alaska has committed to help create career pathways for at least 175,000 young people by 2025.
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