AAR up in arms over report on safety allegations, relation to Blackwater

AAR Airlift Chairman Don Wetekam responded to a recent American Security News' article reporting on AAR's operations for the U.S. government, including its safety record and an ongoing lawsuit with DynCorp over the awarding of a government contract.

"I was disappointed to read the one-sided story posted Oct. 2, 2017, (Shades of Blackwater surface in Dyncorp, AAR conflict)," Wetekam wrote. "AAR is considered a safe airline by the U.S. government for whom we have carried troops and cargo for years all over the world, including Afghanistan and Africa." 

The Daily Caller reported AAR was banned from what was considered by the U.S. government to be a critical airfield in Afghanistan after violating a safety protocol. Such limitations on the transportation contractor may significantly decrease the ability of AAR to complete its contract, the Caller article said. 

AAR was awarded an 11-year $10-billion contract to transport government officials, including representatives and diplomats. DynCorp alleges AAR acquired the contract by committing acts of corporate espionage, which Wetekam denied in his letter. 

"DynCorp has spent the last two years filing multiple protests and lawsuits that have delayed award of the (Worldwide Aviation Support Services) contract while they continue to reap approximately $30 million per month in revenue as the incumbent," Wetekam said. 

Wetekam went on to write that he agrees with AAR CEO and Chairman David Storch, who said, "I would put AAR’s culture of safety, compliance and integrity, as well as our safety record, up against DynCorp any day of the week in any forum." 

Wetekam pointed to examples showing the company is known for its integrity when it comes to the areas of aircraft mechanics, maintenance, repair and overhaul services.

Wetekam denied allegations in the article that AAR is affiliated with the notorious military contractor, Blackwater.

"AAR has absolutely no affiliation with Blackwater and its troubled history and to allege so is totally inaccurate," Wetekam wrote. 

The Daily Beast reported in February that Blackwater's aviation group, EP Aviation, named for Blackwater founder Erik Prince, was sold to AAR.

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