American Airlines no longer needs to cut 400 workers from its Tulsa maintenance base and 70 employees from its engine maintenance facility in Fort Worth as the carrier plans to implement seven-day operations at the two facilities.
On Thursday, American told union leaders by shifting the engine maintenance facility, which is called TAESL, to a seven-day operation from five days, it will save jobs. TAESL is a joint venture with Rolls-Royce that employs about 600 workers at Alliance Airport.
“Enhanced seven-day coverage at either location is cost effective, saves jobs, and provides opportunities for our employees. In addition, the increased flexibility provides both organizations the ability to absorb additional work, if necessary,” the Transport Workers union said in a message posted on its website on Thursday.
The company will be able to keep all 6,300 workers busy at Tulsa by shifting Boeing 737 and MD80 work to the overhaul maintenance base. The work is currently handled at the maintenance hanger at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport which will be able to focus on new delivered aircraft.
American is also offering voluntary buyouts to Tulsa workers but does not have a specific goal for how many workers it needs to take the buyout.
“As we’re revitalizing our fleet and completing several aircraft modification incentives in anticipation of American’s changing operational needs, we continue to collaborate with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to find ways to mitigate any potential labor surplus in Tulsa and at the Alliance Airport maintenance base (AFW) - TAESL,” the company said in a statement. “These efforts to rebalance operations through work schedules and workload will ensure that the impact to our Tulsa and TAESL operations remains minimal.”
In early 2013, American closed its maintenance base at Alliance, shifting the work to Tulsa and to third-party maintenance companies. Even though American has exited bankruptcy, it has not yet resolved its lease on the Alliance facility.
A bankruptcy filing made on February 6 asked the court to push back a hearing on the Alliance lease until mid-March. Last August, American had reached a deal with the city of Fort Worth to terminate its lease so another company could use the building. The agreement, filed in court, said American would receive $9.75 million from AFW Solutions while American would pay $1.5 million for equipment it uses at TAESL. However, the agreement has yet to be finalized by the bankruptcy court.