Project Description: :
American Airlines recently pledged to consolidate all of its Boeing 737 heavy maintenance work at its Tulsa maintenance base and also move its major General Electric CFM-56 engine work to the city.
"This move, in part, is possible because of the funding made available to American through the County of Tulsa Vision 2025 Program," said Carmine Romano, Vice President of Base Maintenance in Tulsa. Those funds will be used to pay for tooling, testing equipment, inventory and set-up costs.
American will move the Boeing 737 Light C line that's currently at its Kansas City overhaul base by the end of the first quarter. That will make room in Kansas City for work on former TWA MD80 airplanes currently in desert storage. American plans to begin refurbishment and standardization of up to 28 MD80s in case the airline needs them for flying in 2005 due to the retirement of the Fokker F100 fleet later this year.
Romano said the consolidation of the Boeing 737 work in Tulsa will reduce inventory and tooling costs. The auxiliary power unit (APU), landing gear, and ?Heavy C? check lines for that aircraft are already in Tulsa. The work will be absorbed by the current work force and ensure job stability as other projects are coming to an end.
A new shop for the GE CFM-56 engine, which powers the Boeing 737, will be set up to perform disassembly, assembly, and testing of all CFM engines in the Boeing 737 fleet. American Airlines has begun utilizing a process called Continuous Improvement or "CI", which is a manufacturing process analysis tool involving the workforce in streamlining "best practices." One of the recent CI events streamlined manufacturing processes and provided increased capacity at the Tulsa Base to facilitate the establishment of this new shop.
"That engine is now maturing and will need heavy overhaul in late 2005 and it made sense to move that work to Tulsa," Romano said. Now is the best time to relocate the shop since major engine work has not yet started.
American Airlines employs approximately 8,300 people in the Tulsa area. Some 8,000 of those employees live in Tulsa or in adjacent communities. Another 14,000 jobs are affected by the status of American Airlines workers. The airline spends $72 million a year for goods and services with local vendors and has an estimated $2.6 billion impact on the local economy.