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While the eyes of the aviation world were focused last week on the Paris Air Show, a major local aerospace employer returned to local ownership.

Aviation Technical Services (ATS), based in Everett, was purchased from Australia’s Macquarie Group by a group that includes ATS President and CEO Matt Yerbic, other top executives and Greenpoint Technologies of Kirkland.

ATS, which operates six facilities and has nearly 1,000 direct employees and contractors, specializes in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of commercial and military transport aircraft. It described itself as the largest MRO firm on the West Coast.

The sale price was not disclosed.

The company was known as Goodrich ATS in 2007 when Macquarie bought it for $58.4 million. Aviation Week reported the company’s sales in the first nine months of that year were $122.6 million.

ATS doesn’t release sales figures, but a company spokeswoman said they were in the same range as in 2007.

Yerbic said the new ownership group plans to grow the company conservatively, looking at expansion not only in Washington but elsewhere in the U.S.

Some of the biggest challenges, Yerbic said, include the unpredictable up-and-down cycle of the airline industry and the need to find enough qualified employees. Licensed airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanics and technicians are in demand but tough to find, as the licenses aren’t the easiest to obtain, he said.

“It’s a significant demand, with a workforce that today is aging,” Yerbic said.

John Monroe, chief operating officer for Economic Alliance Snohomish County, said MRO firms are a key piece of the aerospace industry.

“Aircraft have to be maintained and checked, and that goes on for the life of the aircraft,” Monroe said. “It’s a good solid business to be in.”

There are 1,200 aerospace-related companies in Washington, employing 120,000 people across the state.

Amadine Noel-Crabtree, aerospace business-development manager for the state Department of Commerce’s program, said companies like ATS are important as “the MRO sector is developing pretty fast, and that’s something we need to develop in the state.”

The ATS board of directors will include Jon Buccola, chairman and founder of Greenpoint, which is known for installing VIP interiors for aircraft. Another member is Greg Barger of NewSpring Capital, a Pennsylvania-based investment fund that participated in the acquisition.

Marissa Evans 206-464-3701 or