AAR Airlift pushes back on report of safety concerns

Following a Florida Business Daily report on the controversy surrounding AAR Airlift, a U.S. government contractor tasked with fulfilling a $10 billion contract transporting political figures to the Middle East, AAR Airlift Chairman Don Wetekam wrote a letter responding to what the company called "the inaccurate allegations against us."

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Following a Florida Business Daily report on the controversy surrounding AAR Airlift, a U.S. government contractor tasked with fulfilling a $10 billion contract transporting political figures to the Middle East, AAR Airlift Chairman Don Wetekam wrote a letter responding to what the company called "the inaccurate allegations against us."

The letter addressed safety concerns raised by some Congessional members over an incident which took place over the summer in an airfield in Afghanistan. The Daily Caller reported that on two occasions, AAR was nearly clipped a soccer goal post while taking off from the undisclosed location. 

"The alleged safety issue against AAR Airlift – a world-wide expeditionary aircraft provider – relates to a single contract to operate S-61 helicopters on one airfield in Afghanistan," Wetekam wrote.

As a result of the incident, AAR is reportedly banned from using this airfield, which could impact future missions. 

"AAR Airlift remains committed to safety and is working closely with the Command Authority to resolve the safety issue noted," Wetekam wrote.

Wetekam denied reports of AAR's connection to Blackwater, a military contractor. 

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

But the Daily Beast reported that AAR acquired the assets of EP Aviation — Blackwater's aviation division.

In the letter, Wetekam also lauded the company's mechanical and maintenance accomplishments and refuted claims that are part of an ongoing lawsuit with DynCorp. DynCorp previously held the Worldwide Aviation Support Services (WASS) contract to provide transportation services to the U.S. government. DynCorp alleges the contract was won through AAR's theft of billing information by employees. 

"DynCorp has spent the last 2 years filing multiple protests and lawsuits that have delayed award of the WASS contract while they continue to reap approximately $30 million per month in revenue as the incumbent," Wetekam wrote. "In the words of our Chairman and CEO David P. Storch, '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.' And I wholeheartedly agree."

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