Premier Aviation to sell some Canadian operations, says Griffiss facility not affected

Published Sep 21, 2017 at 4:00pm

Canada-based Premier Aviation Overhaul Center is selling two of its three Canadian operations, but says the aircraft maintenance facility at Griffiss International Airport is not affected by the transaction.

“It’s business as usual for Quebec [City, Quebec, Canada,] and Rome,” David Diggle, Premier’s vice president for marketing, sales and service,” said Wednesday when asked about the impact on the firm’s two remaining locations.

AAR Corp., an aviation services provider, is acquiring privately held Premier’s assets in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, and Windsor, Ontario. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

AAR will use its new Trois-Rivieres facility to work on Air Canada’s Airbus A320-family aircraft and its Embraer 190s.

“There are very specific reasons,” said Diggle of AAR buying up-and-running facilities in Canada. AAR has been maintaining Air Canada planes in Duluth, Minn., but this work has been brought back to Canada under a just-announced contract.

Diggle estimates there currently are 160 to 170 mechanics and technicians at the Rome location, plus support and administrative personnel. Griffiss is the company’s only U.S. location.

“No,” he replied when asked if he foresees any immediate effects locally from transaction. “As a matter of fact, we are about to sign the (contract) extension with Republic for the next two years.”

Premier signed a two-year agreement in December 2015 to perform airframe heavy maintenance services on Republic Airways’ Embraer E-170 and E-175 aircraft at Griffiss.

Although there are no JetBlue and Atlas Air aircraft at Griffiss presently, contracts with these two companies remain in place, according to Diggle.

Atlas has been a long-time Premier customer at Griffiss. The JetBlue contract was announced in January.

About 50 contract workers were released this summer because of a business slowdown. 

Premier is an anchor tenant at the county airport.

It has operated at Griffiss since 2010, when it took over facilities operated by Empire Aero Center.

There two large hangars and a third one for painting planes, as well backshop space and offices.

“We are honored that a company with the reputation, breadth and depth of AAR has recognized the quality of our MRO facilities, and we are pleased that the customers and employees of these facilities will continue to be well-supported,” Ronnie DiBartolo, Premier owner and president, said in AAR’s Tuesday announcement about the acquisition of the Premier locations.

“This transaction also allows Premier to focus its resources on future areas for growth at our other two MRO facilities,” the Premier owner and president added.

Premier got its start at Trois-Rivieres Airport in Quebec in 2002.

Griffiss was its second