DULUTH, MN-- A shocking announcement Wednesday from AAR in Duluth.
The company announced it won't be reopening.
The move comes as hundreds of employees have been laid-off for weeks and now learned they won't be returning to work.
A phone call Wednesday morning left over two-hundred employees jobless and in disbelief.
"I was pretty shocked. I wasn't really quite prepared for it," said AAR employee Ernest Moberg.
He said, "I'm pretty sad about it because I really did enjoy that job and I don't see a job in this line of work in Duluth for quite a while."
The AAR technician and mechanic has worked with the company for 4-years.
Moberg said the company works on United Airplanes which have been mostly grounded since late March.
"They searched out other companies to bring in their airplanes but nobody's really flying right now so nobody really needs work on their planes," said Moberg.
For Moberg, the permanent lay-off means a major unwanted change is coming.
"Probably have to move to be honest and I'll probably have to leave aviation for a time period."
He believes the airline industry as a whole will make significant changes to health and safety guidelines, leaving less work for employees in this field.
Moberg said, "I worked really hard for this position that I work in and I really liked it and I really don't want to leave aviation but I'm kind of being forced to right now."
Despite having no job and no plan for the future right now Moberg is trying to keep his head up.
"I just hope that sooner than later all of this will straighten out and things will get back to normal, hopefully."
AAR has similar maintenance facilities in Illinois, Florida, and Arizona.
No word on if any of those facilities plan to close.
AAR sent KBJR 6 a statement this afternoon. It reads:
Due to the unforeseen business circumstances related to COVID-19 and its impact on the commercial airline industry, we regret that AAR will discontinue operations in its Duluth MRO facility permanently as of July 24, 2020, as described in our Form 8-k dated May 21, 2020.
The decision to close our Duluth facility and reduce our workforce was difficult given the skills and commitment of the employees at the site. This will result in a workforce reduction of 269 employees, 238 of the total were already on furlough. All employees will receive a severance package and will receive medical coverage paid by AAR until July 31, 2020.
AAR performed aircraft heavy maintenance at this facility and our primary customer has been unable to commit to any new maintenance work for the foreseeable future at the Duluth facility.
The Duluth facility’s equipment will be transferred to other AAR maintenance, repair and overhaul stations. Following this closure, AAR will operate four MRO locations throughout the US and two in Canada.