Onward and upward: AA's next chapter unfolds
BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, February 16, 2013
2/16/13 at 6:57 AM
Is American Airlines' future in Tulsa more settled or less certain with the US Airways merger deal? For the time being it appears the spirits of the 6,500 employees who work at the American maintenance facility here remain high.
The merger deal between US Airways and the bankrupt American Airlines still must be approved by a U.S. bankruptcy judge. The merger would create the largest airline in the world. American Airlines would retain its name.
The merger might mean added routes for fliers in and out of Tulsa and the merger would help AA creditors, who were owed nearly $30 billion when the bankruptcy was filed more than a year ago.
"This is about a more secure future for all our employees," US Airways CEO Doug Parker said during a news conference Thursday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. He said a merger would not be about contraction but instead about consolidating.
Even with those encouraging words, American Airlines and US Airways officials have stopped short of saying there is a permanent place for the Tulsa maintenance base in the future.
But union leaders here see a merger as extremely positive.
"You have to realize that we have been on one hell of a roller coaster ride and at least now we can see the end," says John Hewitt, chairman of maintenance for Transport Workers Union Local 514 in Tulsa. "Of course we see it as a positive for our members because they have been working for a company that's in bankruptcy. Now we get some new blood."
When it comes to speed and quality, the Tulsa-based American Airlines mechanics and related work groups can outperform anyone else in the country. Even after all the uncertainty and sacrifice caused by the American Airlines' bankruptcy, more maintenance work is done in-house in Tulsa than is performed at any other U.S. carrier.
The work performance at the facility is unrivaled. Who better to work on airplanes?
That excellence should not be lost on US Airways.
Original Print Headline: Onward, upward
American Airlines supervisor Steve Yates moves a ladder Thursday at the American Airlines Maintenance Base in Tulsa. AMR and US Airways announced merger plans Thursday. STEPHEN PINGRY/ Tulsa World