By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Taking flight with American Airlines in Tulsa. American is changing planes, but Tulsa remains the hub. An entire fleet of new aircraft, 76 in all, will eventually fly through Tulsa for maintenance.
A plane on display is the first of a new generation of 737s for American Airlines. The 800 model uses only 2/3 as much fuel as the airplane it's replacing, the MD-80.
Tulsa is and will continue to be the only shop for heavy maintenance for both aircraft.
"We'll do all. Flying as long as we possibly can," said American Airlines' Fred Cleveland.
American hasn't bought a new 737 since 2001. The airline will take delivery of 29 new ones this year and eventually have 76 in the fleet.
Having all of the heavy maintenance work done in Tulsa means the 5,700 employees in the Transport Workers Union will have plenty of work for a long time to come.
American got tax incentives from both the city and the state to help influence the work in Tulsa. The decision by American to buy the new planes and have repairs done in Tulsa secures local jobs for years to come.
American has 3 million square feet of work space in Tulsa and altogether employs 8,000 people in Tulsa.
The new plane on display will fly passengers out of Chicago, but eventually the planes will fly passengers in and out of Tulsa.