American Airlines (copy)

American Airlines announced last week that it is adding 400 jobs to its maintenance base in Tulsa. Tulsa World file

American Airlines’ recent announcement that it is adding 400 jobs to its maintenance base in Tulsa has been roundly embraced.

By early Friday, just two days after the news broke, more than 800 people had applied for the positions, a good sign for the airline and Tech Ops Tulsa, American’s largest aircraft maintenance facility, said Erik Olund, managing director of the base.

“We’re kind of fortunate at American that when we turn the hiring button on, we see a huge response from people who are interested to come work for us,” he said. “But we are leveraging relationships across the region, both at the Department of Commerce in Oklahoma City and our folks at Tulsa Tech and Spartan (College of Aeronautics and Technology).”

More than 140,000 pilots and technicians have matriculated at the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology since its inception in 1928. Tulsa Tech’s aviation-aerospace training facility was built in 1999 for about $28.5 million. The institution also is several years into the establishment of an aerospace academy for high school students.

“I can’t speak enough about the Tulsa Tech team and how they have gotten to show the students how important and valuable an A&P (airframe and/or powerplant) license can be to people,” Olund said. “Their enrollment is really important to our future, and we really just push people to get an A&P and get them on board and make them successful.”

Hiring largely for Federal Aviation Administration-licensed mechanics, the base will focus on areas that include aircraft overhaul, landing gear overhaul for the Boeing 737 and 777 aircraft and CFM56 engine maintenance and Airbus A321 interior modifications. The base will receive its first 787 aircraft to undergo scheduled maintenance checks late this year.

Moreover, the base will increase its 777 and 787 maintenance work and will make investments in the Landing Gear Shop, enabling greater production.

While the new Tulsa job postings have drawn interest from around the country, most of the applicants hail from the area, Olund said. There are 9,148 A&P mechanics in Oklahoma, with 2,832 living in Tulsa County, according to Federal Aviation Administration data.

In May 2018, the median annual wage for aircraft mechanics and service technicians in scheduled air transportation was $83,870, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“That’s a big piece of the pie that American is trying to pick up,” Crystal Maguire, executive director of the Aviation Technician Education Council, said of the mechanics pool in the state. “I don’t have anything to back this up, but I would think American would have a relatively easy time of it because their pay is going to be higher than some of the others. These are premier jobs, I would think.”

More than three-quarters of the job openings will be A&P mechanics, Olund said. Other positions include welders, machinists, overhaul shop mechanics and entry-level cleaners, who are responsible for cleaning the inside and outside of aircraft, he said.

Persons may apply at aa.com/careers.

“We are really looking for folks who are motivated and interested in growing their career,” Olund said. “Across all the job applications, it has been very healthy.”


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Rhett Morgan

918-581-8395

rhett.morgan@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @RhettMorganTW

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