Hawaiian Air and Honolulu DC Partnership Produces More Aviation Mechanics

Black graduation cap with a Hawaiian Airlines plane and maintenance truck
The graduation cap of Alvin Lacsina, a recent Honolulu DC AERO Program Graduate (Photo Credit: Alvin Lacsina)

Some of the latest beneficiaries of an innovative partnership to train and hire much-needed aviation mechanics took the stage at Honolulu Community College’s graduation ceremonies in May to receive their certificates.

Man showing shaka in front of a Hawaiian Airlines plane
Martin Frueán

Since Hawaiian Airlines began partnering with Honolulu DC and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to launch a new apprenticeship program to train and recruit aviation mechanics in 2016, hundreds of Honolulu DC Aeronautical Maintenance Technology (AERIAL) students have transitioned into high-paying aviation jobs, and Hawaiian Airlines has hired 36 program participants to help malama (take care of) its fleet.

“We are impressed and grateful for this partnership,” Honolulu said. DC Chancellor Karen Lee. “I was contacted by a couple of other schools on the continent who asked me how this partnership came to be because they also see it as a need within their communities.”

Martin Fruean was one of the first students to be accepted into the Hawaiian Airlines Aircraft Mechanics Apprenticeship Program. He was also one of the first seven students to graduate from the program in 2017.

“I feel fulfilled. I am happy where I am. I wouldn’t want to work anywhere other than Hawaiian,” Fruean said.

paid apprentices

Hawaiian Airlines has invested in professional development programs and integrated training opportunities to meet the growing need for qualified mechanics in the industry. In August 2022, he announced another groundbreaking collaboration with Honolulu. DC graduate more local students as highly-skilled aviation maintenance technicians. Hawaiian Airlines instructors now teach in Honolulu DChelping to duplicate AERIALenrollment of 100 students by fall 2023.

The Apprentices Take Honolulu DC courses during the day and work a part-time shift in the Hawaiian Airlines aircraft maintenance hangar, where they are paid as mechanics performing repairs and preventative maintenance.

“Many of these students are here [at Honolulu CC] Thank you to the current Hawaiian Airlines mechanics who are telling you how great it is to be there and what a great company it is to work for,” added Hawaiian Airlines. AERIAL Coach Jason Anderson. “They went from knowing nothing about an aircraft to knowing the checklist and start-up procedures for each of these aircraft, that’s pretty impressive stuff.”

Of the AERIAL cohort graduating in May, 18 students completed the course; Six of them will continue their apprenticeships with Hawaiian Airlines until they receive their Airframe and Power Plant Maintenance certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and begin mechanical training for new employees this summer.

For more information, see Hawaiian Airlines Mana’o.