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American's Tulsa Base Adding Jobs

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) American Airlines plans to recall more than 60 aircraft mechanics to full-time positions as part of an expansion of its Boeing 757 winglet modification lines in Tulsa, company officials announced.

The company on Friday announced that employees who were cut to part-time starting three years ago will soon be reassigned into full-time aviation maintenance technician positions.

"It is wonderful to be able to announce that we are upgrading and returning people to work in Tulsa," said Carmine Romano, vice president of Tulsa Base Maintenance. "With this plan, we will be able to move a number of our people to better-paying positions, in addition to adding more than 60 employees back to the work force in Tulsa."

The expansion in Tulsa is the second in 10 weeks at American's largest maintenance base, which employs more than 6,000 mechanics and related workers and 7,000 people overall.

In December, American and Allegiant Air, a Las Vegas-based charter aircraft operator, agreed to a four-year, $30 million contract. American will overhaul Allegiant's 24 MD80 aircraft in Tulsa.

Along with a full-time position, the recalled and reassigned employees will also receive a pay increase.

"We're able to have more employees back to better paying positions," said company spokeswoman Courtney Wallace.

American also plans to fill about 40 vacated positions, for a total of 100 employees who will be rejoining the work force full-time.

In American's 2003 restructuring, 700 Tulsa-based mechanics were laid off or reverted to lower job classifications as the company narrowly averted a bankruptcy filing.

"We have been working very hard by doing more with less in our continuous improvement process," Romano said. "As we add more work, we will start to add more jobs."

The 757 winglet modification work is one of the most successful programs adopted in Tulsa in recent years, officials said.

The work involves stripping the outer "skin" of the wings and adding stringers and ribs to support winglets, which are upward-angled wing extensions that improve fuel efficiency.
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