American Airlines (copy)

Aircraft mechanics Don Warren (left) and James Brown work on the cockpit of a Boeing 737 at the American Airlines maintenance base in Tulsa in June. American Airlines said it will distribute $1,000 to each team member (excluding officers) at its mainline and wholly owned regional carriers. MATT BARNARD/for TB&LN

A second public company with local ties has announced that its employees will be receiving bonuses because of federal tax reform.

American Airlines, which operates the Tulsa Maintenance Base, said it will distribute $1,000 to each team member (excluding officers) at its mainline and wholly owned regional carriers. The bonuses will total about $130 million and will be made in the first quarter of 2018.

The company made the announcement in a letter written to team members by Doug Parker, American chairman and CEO, and Robert Isom, company president.

The new cost for doing business in Tulsa.

For those who care about business and this community, we have a deal for you. Start a digital subscription for only $0.99. Sign up now at

Also this week, Tulsa-based manufacturer AAON said it was handing out $1,000 bonuses to its 2,000 workers (nonofficers) in Tulsa and Longview, Texas. Last month, Express Employment Professionals in Oklahoma City decided to give each of its nonexecutive employees a $2,000 bonus before the end of 2017, CEO Bob Funke said, citing the tax reform.

The management at American Airlines said the company wanted to take the opportunity to reward its employees, “the very people who matter the most to our customers and shareholders.”

“While the company does not yet pay cash taxes due to our enormous losses in the past, there is no doubt that our country’s new tax structure will have positive long-term benefits for American,” Parker and Isom wrote. “We will be able to invest even more in aircraft and facilities, and we will be able to do so with even greater confidence about the future.

“As we analyze those potential future benefits, our leadership team, backed by our Board of Directors, considered how a portion of that positive impact might be directly shared with the very people who produce the profits at American — all of you.”

The Tulsa Maintenance Base, also known as Tech Ops-Tulsa, employs about 5,200 people and handles aircraft overhaul and component and avionics repair.

“This is not an action we take lightly when balanced against the returns our shareholders/owners demand and deserve,” Parker and Isom stated in their letter. “But we believe it is the right thing to do for our team, which ultimately benefits our shareholders, too. This is one more proof point that working at American is to be part of a team that recognizes taking care of those who take care of our customers is the cornerstone of our competitive advantage.”

Jake Dollarhide, CEO of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, said the worker windfalls are a reflection of appreciative employers.

“A company has no chance of survival without its end product, its customers,” he said Wednesday. “But there is no customer if there are no dedicated employees to make the product better and get it into customers’ hands when they need it.

“Just like health insurance and 401(k) plans and life insurance and other benefits are a retention tool, bonuses are a retention tool. I’ve got all sorts of small businesses that we manage that do $1,000 bonuses. It’s like a profit-sharing effect.”

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Rhett Morgan


Twitter: @RhettMorganTW