American Airline Bankruptcy Would Ripple Through Tulsa

Tuesday, October 4th 2011, 6:03 pm

By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The stock price for American Airline's parent company rose 20 percent Tuesday, closing at $2.39 a share. Monday, the stock dropped by a third, in part because of speculation the company was considering bankruptcy.

10/3/2011 Related Story: Turbulent Times For One Of Tulsa's Largest Employers

A lot of people in Tulsa depend on American's success. An American bankruptcy would ripple throughout Tulsa because it's such a big employer.

It's the foundation of the aerospace industry here - and one of its largest vendors doesn't believe that's going to change. Tulsa has dozens of small aerospace companies that benefit from having American Airlines nearby.

Some do contract work for American, getting occasional work outsourced from the maintenance base. Tulsa based NORDAM is one of American's largest local vendors, and for them American is a good and significant customer and that hasn't changed.

"Nothing in the relationship we have with them indicates they're having a problem. They still have plenty of cash; I've read they have $4.5 billion dollars in cash. They're paying their bills and that's what we're primarily concerned about," said, NORDAM Board Chairman Ken Lackey.

In one NORDAM shop they manufacture composite parts that go into the thrust reversers on American's aircraft. In other shops, NORDAM manufactures replacement windows and repairs radomes - the nose of the aircraft.

All of that work for American is done in Tulsa. The indirect jobs here are in addition to the 7,000 jobs at American's Maintenance Base.

"And they're 7,000 very well paid people. They provide a great portion of the air service for this city. Our people travel American all over the world. I got off an American flight last night. They're an extremely important company for this city," Lackey said.

Lackey says NORDAM's work for American has dropped in the last couple of years, but that's because American tries to handle as much as it can internally. He believes the talk of American going bankrupt is just talk.

"We do consider them to be an extremely good customer, someone we want to be associated with, and a very good company," Lackey said.


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