American Airlines and Rolls-Royce say they will close an engine repair shop in Fort Worth, which could mean a move to Tulsa for some mechanics.
The Texas Aero Engine Services LLC, or TAESL, is a 50-50 joint venture between Rolls-Royce and American Airlines Group in Fort Worth. It provides maintenance, repair, and overhaul services on aircraft engines.
In a news release the companies said the combination of reductions in demand and lack of future growth opportunities for the business led Rolls-Royce to request the closure of TAESL, which American Airlines accepted.
The companies established TAESL in 1998 to work on Rolls-Royce aircraft engines operated by American Airlines including the Tay 620/650, RB211, and Trent 800. Demand for work on those engines has fallen significantly, the companies said. American got rid of Tay engines in 2004 and RB211 work is declining as planes from American's Boeing 757 fleet are retired.
"TAESL has a proud history of supporting Rolls-Royce to serve American Airlines and other customers over many years. Unfortunately, after reviewing load forecasts for the TAESL programs, Rolls-Royce has concluded that declining future volumes of overhauls for Trent 800 and RB211 will no longer support a commercially viable operation," said Simon Burr, Chief Operating Officer for Civil Large Engines, Rolls-Royce.
"Our primary concern is for American Airlines team members working at TAESL. They have consistently delivered quality work and made significant contributions to American and Rolls-Royce. Their level of expertise is second to none," said David Seymour, Senior Vice President for Technical Operations at American Airlines. "Unfortunately, there simply isn't enough work to sustain the cost of operating this facility. We will work with the TWU to create some additional new maintenance opportunities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as well as offer continued employment throughout American at other locations for those who desire it."
About 600 American Airlines employees work at TAESL, including 500 who are represented by the Transport Workers Union of America. The airline also employs about 100 management and support employees at the facility. American will offer other jobs to the 500 frontline mechanics and TWU-represented employees and is creating more than 100 TWU-represented jobs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as a way to offset the facility's closure.
Work currently done at TAESL for American and other airlines will begin moving to other Rolls-Royce approved facilities in consultation with TAESL's current customers. Final closure of TAESL is expected by January 2016.
The company said some of the people who work at TAESL may choose to move to Tulsa's maintenance base if there are vacancies, but it's too early to say how many people might make the move.