American Airlines doing more of its maintenance work in-house

Tuesday, February 15th 2005, 10:14 am
By: News On 6

While most airlines are shipping their maintenance work to other companies, American Airlines in Tulsa is bringing more work in-house.

Tuesday, American Airlines held a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the addition of the wheel maintenance for American's entire 737 fleet.

News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg has more on how American's base in Tulsa is reversing the outsourcing trend.

For the past eight years, Robert Addington has worked at American's Wheel and Brake Center on North Memorial. And he wants to keep it rolling. "The more work, the better, keeps us working and keep us busy is all we care about really." And they're "getting" more work. In 90 days, the wheel maintenance for American's 737's, which is currently being done by Honeywell, is coming in-house to Tulsa.

The new work doesn't mean new jobs, but it's still a remarkable difference from other airlines. Transport Workers Union president Dennis Burchette: "Everybody in the industry's outsourcing their maintenance. People on Wall Street wonder why American's being foolish and keeping their maintenance, it's because we can do it at a better cost and more efficient."

And they're not stopping there. The name of the building says American, but their next goal is to attract work from outside carriers. In fact, they think they can increase their profits from outside work from $6-million to $500-million in just two years. Carmine Romano with American Airlines: "We have a long way to go, but on engines and components right now, we're very competitive and wheels and brakes as you can see here, we're very competitive."

It's a lofty goal, not just to stop outsourcing to other companies, but to actually start "in-sourcing" from other companies.

If it works, Robert hopes to see some of the 700 or so of his fellow American workers out there, who got laid off. "It's just a good job all the way around, the pay, the benefits, for this area of the country."