|Updated: 2/12/2013 10:23 am
||Published: 2/11/2013 10:57 pm
Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett knows what's on the line as merger talks between American Airlines, which employs more than 5,000 people at its Tulsa maintenance base, and U.S. Airways heat up this week.
“I have been talking with the high level people at both airlines, and we saw this as an opportunity we have to be prepared for,” Mayor Bartlett, a Republican, told FOX23.
He knows the way U.S. Airways does business.
“(U.S. Airways) presently outsources a majority of their maintenance to other companies.”
That is very different from the way American Airlines operates. They do almost all aircraft maintenance at the Tulsa airport. Aviation industry expert Bill Swelbar says the merged company will have to pick one way or the other.
“I would venture to say it will close to the American model than the (U.S.) Airways model over time,” he said.
That's music to Mayor Bartlett’s ears.
“That means that (U.S. Airways) would want to improve their maintenance situation by having their aircraft maintained here in Tulsa,” Bartlett said.
The airport maintenance facility the new airline would use will probably need to be updated.
“The taxpayers will be presented with the issue again, “ Swelbar said, “I think this is just going to take a little time to work through the nuances, how it is the new company is going to maintain its airplanes.”
Mayor Bartlett says the city doesn't want another Vision2 defeat, so they are looking at other ways to foot the bill.
He couldn't rule out another tax spending proposal like Vision2 over the next few years, but he says even if you have no connection to American Airlines, the stability of this facility could one day ensure that your children stay in Tulsa to work and raise their family.
“It will solidify several thousand jobs, making sure they stay here in Tulsa, and a very real possibility of adding several thousand more.”