Avmax growth prompts maintenance worker hiring surge

Significant growth in the leasing division at Avmax is driving a hiring surge among maintenance personnel at the company’s Calgary, Alta., and Great Falls, Mont., locations.

Avmax Bombardier Dash 8 in flight
Avmax’s traditional focus has been on Bombardier Dash 8 (pictured) and CRJ aircraft. Avmax Image
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The company announced this week it plans to hire more than 50 new employees to help backfill current maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) lines, and start up two new MRO lines.

Calgary and Great Falls will both see one line added to existing operations, focusing mainly on Bombardier Dash 8 and CRJ aircraft.

The new lines will support a rapid expansion of the Avmax leasing division, which has acquired 60 aircraft in the last year, most of them Dash 8s and CRJs.

Avmax has also acquired Airbus A340, Boeing 737, Embraer Legacy 600 and ERJ 145 aircraft, as well as Bombardier Challenger 601 and 850 and Fokker F50 aircraft.

“We have a lot of aircraft that are being purchased,” said Al Young, Avmax vice-president of global operations, in an interview with Skies.

Inside view of Bombardier CRJ SE aircraft
The Avmax fleet includes Bombardier CRJ SE (Special Edition) VIP aircraft. Avmax Photo

“And for us to be able to get them turned around and back out into market and out for lease, we’ve got a requirement for a significantly larger staff.”

Avmax has traditionally been focused on Dash 8s and CRJs, but Young noted the new acquisitions diversify the leasing company.

Avmax hopes to find customers among small startup airlines, as well as larger established airlines that are expanding their fleets or adding new aircraft types.

“We’ve got a wide breadth,” said Young. “We do a lot of work in Africa with the leasing company; we do a lot of work in South America. We’re actually expanding in both of those markets.”

Avmax bills itself as one of the world’s largest aviation support companies, operating out of facilities in Calgary, Vancouver, Great Falls, Jacksonville, Fla., the city of N’Djamena in the Republic of Chad, and Nairobi, Kenya.

North America is experiencing a shortage of maintenance personnel, and Young acknowledged it will be a challenge to fill 50 new positions.

The company does not have formal agreements with colleges or technical schools for recruiting new maintenance workers, but Young said he sees Avmax as an attractive place, citing competitive wages and benefits.

Avmax Bombardier CRJ aircraft in flight
Bombardier CRJ aircraft make up a large portion of the 60 planes Avmax has acquired in the last year. Avmax Photo

“Most of our shifts are straight days,” he said. “So for the guys that are sick of working straight nights on the ramp, we’ve got opportunities for straight day work.

“It’s stable work. The company’s expanding. We’re getting into bigger, more diversified fleets. We’ve got a lot to offer in terms of career and just general benefits within the industry.”

He said the company also does a lot of unique work, compared to airlines.

“We’ve got a lot of capability within our facilities,” he said. “We’re doing repairs and overhauls and heavy maintenance; we’ve got engineering capabilities.

“So we do a lot of modification work and we do a lot of unique work that you wouldn’t necessarily get to see on a day to day line operation sort of thing.”

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The company is focused on spreading the word about its need for new hires, targeting strategic areas where workers may be looking for a change.

Fly Viking Bombardier Dash 8 on runway
Avmax leasing clients have included Fly Viking, a Norwegian carrier that acquired this Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft in the spring of 2017. Avmax Photo

“Usually when we’ve hired before we’ve done it through traditional means. It’s on our website, we’d go to [job websites like] Monster or Indeed or LinkedIn or whoever, and hope for the best,” said Young.

“So we’re trying to be a little bit more strategic about it, but we’re obviously aware that it’s an ambitious number.”

Avmax is looking to add more than 30 positions in Calgary and more than 20 positions in Great Falls, building on its current base of more than 500 employees around the world.

The company is also seeking workers in Calgary and Vancouver to grow its engineering department.

“It’s a career company,” said Young. “We have a lot of people with 20-plus years within the industry.”

 

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