KANSAS CITY, Mo. --
KMBC has learned that American Airlines may be extending its maintenance base facilities in Texas, even though they are shutting down the overhaul base at Kansas City International Airport.
KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reported that the airline sent a letter to the transport workers union to confirm the deal. According to the letter, a hangar that is now being used for light maintenance in Dallas Airport would be considered a "maintenance base."
The letter went out a day after American Airlines announced it was shutting down the Kansas City base next year.
The letter stated that the the Dallas maintenance base at Hangar 5 "will be considered a 'maintenance base' no differently than Tulsa, Fort Worth and Kansas City -- identified by their aviation IDs."
The letter also said that the airline will negotiate an extension in 2011 when the lease runs out on the Dallas operation.
Union executive Robert Gless was asked to sign the document if it matched his understanding of the deal. He signed the letter.
Neither the airline nor the local union leaders have responded to requests for comments.
Union spokesman Jamie Hortwitz said that it would not do to read too much into the letter's reference to Hangar 5 as a full maintenance base. In fact, when the company announced on Oct. 28 that they were shutting down the KCI overhaul base, they added they would also close their station here. On the surface, this made it seem as if the airline was ending flight service in Kansas City; however, they were referring only to the overhaul base.
Hortwitz said that it's possible the airline would add some maintenance service at Hangar 5, but he wasn't sure that was correct. The letter indicates that the work rules for other maintenance bases would apply at Hangar 5.
The hangar in Dallas was once a light maintenance shop for Delta Airlines before that company went out of business.
The deal has yet to be approved by the Dallas Airport board.
It is rumored that some of the work in Hangar 5 involves will involve American Airlines employees maintaining aircraft from other airlines.
One of the reasons given for closing the overhaul base at KCI was a reduced number of flights.
The KCI base will close in Sept. 2010. There are about 550 people still working at the base.
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