American Airlines Overhaul Base To Shut Down


Several hundred jobs are in jeopardy at the American Airlines overhaul base at the Kansas City International Airport, sources told KMBC.

Airline officials held an emergency meeting with Mayor Mark Funkhouser, City Manager Wayne Cauthen and other city leaders late Tuesday afternoon.

It is believed airline officials said they are shutting down the overhaul base in September 2010.

KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reported that about 500 people -- about 450 of them union workers -- are employed at the overhaul base. The exact number of employees who will lose their jobs is not clear. Employees with more seniority could be moved to other facilities owned by the company.

An official announcement from American is expected on Wednesday.

The airline did not comment on Tuesday. Funkhouser also refused to comment on the jobs at the KCI overhaul base.

Airline maintenance workers told KMBC that the news is sad but not surprising. One worker said the mood is bleak and that it has been souring for a long time. Workers showed KMBC a letter they received from the airline's CEO, announcing a third-quarter loss of $265 million. The letter says, "That's a disappointing result -- it is likely that we are going to continue to face stiff economic hard winds."

Documents obtained by KMBC show the airplane maintenance schedule at the overhaul base. Through the end of 2009, there is plenty of work. But looking at the plan into 2010, there is an abrupt halt, and nothing is planned after May 31.

Sen. Kit Bond's office released a statement saying, "Despite efforts of American Airline employees and city officials, we are hearing that harsh economic realities are about to level a blow."

A Difficult History

For most of the decade, the base has been surviving on the promises combined with cutbacks. City and state officials have worked for almost 10 years to provide incentives to American Airlines in hopes of propping up the base.

In July 2008,

American Airlines

announced 1,500 maintenance workers nationwide would be laid off.

In August 2008, the airline announced it will shift workers from Kansas City to its facility in Tulsa, but Kansas City leaders said they would hold American to its 25-year lease on the overhaul bases, which was signed in 2003. Airline executive said they will honor the lease, but job cuts will happen.

In October 2008, the airline said about 262 employees will take voluntary retirement and up to 223 workers will be laid off.

American Airlines Overhaul Base In KC To Shut Down

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