The future of American Airlines' maintenance base in Tulsa may be made soon

Tuesday, July 15th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

What does the future hold for American Airlines in Tulsa? American's board of directors is expected to release its second quarter earnings report Wednesday. It could also bring an announcement on which of the struggling airline's three maintenance bases might close.

News on 6 anchor Craig Day talked with some employees here, who are hoping for the best. When American Airlines reached agreements with it's unions to save money and a shakeup led to a change in leadership for the company, attention then turned to the struggling airlines' maintenance facilities. And which one of the three facilities might close.

Employees in Tulsa have been watching and waiting ever since. Jason Noyes, American Airlines Employee "It kind of leaves us in the dark you know. As far as the future is concerned." Jack Wetzler, American Airlines Employee "I tell you the truth, we hear more from you guys than we hear from our management about what is going on."

Tulsa, Kansas City and Fort Worth are each lobbying the company with millions of dollars in incentives to keep their home maintenance facilities open. That includes more than $20-million as a part of the new Tulsa Vision Development project and several utility improvements and lease agreements.

While the offers are on the table, union officials hope none of the maintenance bases close. In a letter written by Air Transport Workers Union Vice President Jim Little, he urges American's President Gerard Arpey to maintain the "system-wide workforce at current staffing levels." And elimination or downsizing of Kansas City would be "a complete breach of faith by management."

Despite the objections, AMR is expected to move ahead with closing one maintenance base. American Airlines workers in Tulsa say they'll hope for the best. Jack Wetzler, "I really think we're going to be here for a while. I don't see us pulling out of here myself. I've been out here long enough to know that it, the logistics of moving it to me would seem like it would take an awful long time to really do anything."

Experts say American Airlines is expected to lose more than $400-million for the second quarter. That would be an improvement over the first quarter.