Hundreds in Kansas apply for AAR Aircraft jobs

? Hundreds of job seekers have applied for work with AAR Aircraft Services, even before the company has officially decided whether it will expand its operations to Salina.

The aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul business is expected to decide in August or September whether it will expand to Salina. It is considering moving into facilities currently used by Hawker Beechcraft, the Wichita airplane maker that plans to close its Salina operation by the end of February.

Mike Boswell, 67, of Salina, was among at least 240 people who filled out applications with AAR Aircraft Services at a job fair Monday. The company hopes to have more than 500 applicants by the time the job fair ends Tuesday.

Boswell, who was laid off in September after 15 years at Hawker Beechcraft, said it would be good for him and the community if AAR came to Salina.

“This is really what we need here, with the airport and runway,” he said. “There’s a lot of good workers here.”

AAR Aircraft said if it moves to Salina, it would lease one hangar and could eventually expand to a second hanger with a connecting building between.

The decision will come after AAR secures a maintenance contract with Pinnacle Airlines, said Anita Brown, AAR’s senior human resources manager.

“Once they have work solidified, then we will come back in August or September, conduct interviews, and make offers,” Brown told the Salina Journal.

After that, the company would obtain equipment and set up for a February 2012 start of operations, she said.

Greg Dellinger, AAR’s director of recruiting, wouldn’t say how many jobs might be offered but told the Journal it takes 75 to 100 for a maintenance line.

AAR, a nearly $1.8 billion company, employs about 6,500 people in 60 locations in 13 countries. It grew 35 percent in the past year, he said.

Salina’s decision to build a $7 million hangar at the airport helps the city’s bid, Dellinger said.

“If they hadn’t pulled the trigger and took the collective risk, we wouldn’t be here,” he said. “That’s a testimony of the spirit of Salina to build something for its economic well-being.”