American Airlines has dedicated a Boeing 777 to Azreil “Al” Blackman, an Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Crew Chief based at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Blackman recently celebrated 75 years of service with American Airlines, which has led to Guinness World Records granting him the world record for the longest career as an airline mechanic.

“Al has worked on nearly every aircraft American has flown, from the flying boats of the 1940s to the Boeing 777s of today. His hard work and dedication to train and mentor others and safely maintain our aircraft has made us a better airline,” commented American’s Chairman and CEO, Doug Parker. Blackman graduated from the Aviation High School in Manhattan when he was 16 and took a job with American Airlines (then American Export Airlines) as an apprentice in the Sheet Metal Shop for $.50 an hour. Although his shift technically starts at 5am, the airline says Blackman arrives at the hangar just before 3am most days.

“I’m just honoured to be here, I’m proud to be a mechanic. I’m proud to be part of the American Airlines team,” Blackman said. “When you like what you do, it’s not work.”

Twenty-five years ago, Blackman was honoured with the FAA’s Charles E. Taylor Master Mechanic Award, a feat only awarded to individuals with 50 years of experience in aviation maintenance as an accredited mechanic or repairman certified by the FAA for at least 30 years.