Alaska Airlines and AAR are partnering to create a pipeline for qualified airline maintenance technicians for the Seattle-based airline.

    The ‘Flow Through Program’ aims to address the forecasted shortfall in supply of qualified airline maintenance technicians.

    According to the partners, the initiative 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”.

    “We are in a unique position to strengthen the talent pipeline through recruitment of groups historically underrepresented in aviation,” said Alaska Airlines’ interim vice president of maintenance & engineering Nathan Engel.

    “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.”

    The programme entails applicants completing their training and feeding 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. “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’ programme, which focuses on engaging students from diverse backgrounds. In 2020, AAR launched a pilot programme to mentor and develop a cohort of 20 women in aviation maintenance at its aircraft repair facility in Miami. AAR said it also provided job opportunities for military veterans and active-duty personnel transitioning to civilian aviation maintenance careers.