A multimillion-dollar contract has created a wave of job security at American Airlines' Tulsa maintenance base.
American Airlines has signed a four-year, $30 million contract with Allegiant Air to do maintenance work on the Las Vegas-based company's MD80 aircraft fleet.
The work will be done at the Tulsa Maintenance and Engineering Base. Carmine Romano, vice president of the Tulsa facility, said employees no longer are afraid of being laid off but instead know there is work to be done.
"They feel much more at ease everyday," Romano said.
American Airlines began working with Allegiant Air about six months ago and later bid on the long-term contract to maintain Allegiant's 24 MD80s.
American's work on the aircraft will include component overhaul, engineering and landing gear maintenance.
Romano said American Airlines' experience with the MD80 made the Dallas-based company a front-runner for the contract. American has its own fleet of 330 MD80 aircrafts.
"The technicians here are very familiar with the MD80s," Romano said.
Allegiant is familiar with Oklahoma, as well. Allegiant entered the Oklahoma City market in October 2004, offering service from Will Rogers World Airport to Las Vegas.
Rising fuel prices and increased competition led to Allegiant ending its service earlier this year.
Although they are not offering service, Romano said the contract is a way for Allegiant to have a presence in the state.
"We're very happy to see them back," he said.
Mike Baxter, Allegiant's senior vice president of technical operations, said in a news release that the company chose American because the airline offers value.
"Not only is the workmanship and materials of the highest quality, but we get our aircraft returned in a timely manner, meaning they can be back in revenue service sooner," Baxter said.
Dennis Burchette, president of Transport Workers Union Local 514, said the contract is evidence that Allegiant recognizes what American Airlines and the Tulsa facility have to offer.
"I think their willingness to bring their aircraft and maintenance to Tulsa says a lot about the work that's done in Tulsa," Burchette said.
He said the contract has the ability to lead to more contract work in the future.
"Not only does it bring a sense of security, it also shows that we can be competitive in the market," Burchette said.
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