TULSA, Okla. (AP) — American Airlines said it's adding 400 jobs at its Tulsa maintenance facility, marking what an airline official calls the largest workforce addition to that base in over a decade.
About 330 of the new positions will be filled by mechanics who have the potential to earn six figures as they accrue seniority, airline officials told The Associated Press on Thursday. The remaining positions will be offered at a lower salary.
"We're growing the organization considerably, and we haven't had a hiring announcement like this in over a decade," said Erik Olund, managing director of base maintenance. "This kind of paves the future for us to be here for a very long time."
The new mechanics will focus their time on aircraft overhaul, landing gear overhaul for some Boeing aircraft, especially the 787 "Dreamliner" fleet. They will also work on CFM56 engine maintenance and Airbus A321 interior modifications.
Recruiting will primarily target mechanics who are licensed through the Federal Aviation Administration, Olund said. Hiring will continue over the next four months, he noted.
"We're gonna need talented folks (who) are eager and really willing to come to work and excited to be a part of the American team," Olund said.
The base, also known as Tech Ops-Tulsa, now employs 5,200 people. Last year, the base took over maintenance of the CFM56-5B engine — work that was previously outsourced to GE Engine partners in Brazil.
This week's airline announcement comes three months after American Airlines filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Fort Worth, Texas, against the Transport Workers Union and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which together represent American's roughly 10,000 aircraft mechanics. The Fort Worth-based airline accuses mechanics of causing about 900 cancellations or long delays since early February by taking an unusually long time to repair planes and by refusing to work overtime.
For the jobs in Tulsa, however, Olund said the base will lean on partners such as OK2Grow, Tulsa Tech and Spartan Aeronautics to help fill the additional jobs.
"The good news for us is when we turn the hiring button on, we seem to get an amazing amount of candidates who are ready to come to work for us," he said. "We're not nervous that we won't be able to fill these spots."