American Airlines announced it will invest $550 million at its Base Maintenance facility in Tulsa (Tech Ops – Tulsa). It is American’s largest Base Maintenance facility and is an integral part of operating the carrier’s fleet of nearly 1,000 mainline aircraft safely and reliably.
Tech Ops – Tulsa is home to more than 5,500 team members — 600 of those positions were added in 2019 — and conducts nearly half of the airline’s overall maintenance work. The new project includes construction of a new widebody-capable hangar and base support building. The investment also provides for improvements to the existing infrastructure, including roof replacements, utility and IT upgrades, and ramp repairs. This is the largest investment ever made at a maintenance location in American’s history.
This investment underscores American’s long-term commitment to the Tech Ops – Tulsa team, State of Oklahoma and City of Tulsa by making improvements to ensure success.
“The American team in Tulsa and around the world is the best in the business when it comes to operating the safest and most reliable fleet of commercial aircraft,” said American’s Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “Tulsa has been core to American’s operation for more than 70 years, and this investment in the base, along with the new positions we added at Tech Ops – Tulsa in 2019, will ensure our customers can continue to rely on our fleet as the safest and most reliable for decades to come.”
The new 193,000-square-foot hangar will be able to hold two widebody aircraft — or up to six narrowbody aircraft — and will replace two existing hangars that can no longer fully accommodate the size of American’s current aircraft. This will allow team members to continue maintenance work on the more than 900 aircraft that visit the site annually while also adding to the widebody hangar capacity in American’s system. The 132,000-square-foot base support building will include offices for teams in administrative functions for aircraft overhaul, engineering and more.
“With this historic investment, American Airlines continues to display their commitment to Oklahoma. As one of the largest employers in our state, American Airlines plays an integral role in our economy and provides quality jobs for our citizens,” Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt said. “I am proud that Oklahoma is one of the top states in the nation for the aviation and aerospace industry, and I am honored to have American Airlines choose Oklahoma, once again, to grow their business.”
Oklahoma Governor Stitt, City of Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Tulsa Regional Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal joined American leadership and nearly 2,000 team members this morning at a ceremony to unveil the project.
“This investment marks the largest single capital investment in our city’s history while also reflecting the long-term commitment of American Airlines to Tulsa,” Bynum said. “As a city, we are grateful that one of the largest employers in our community is a true partner with the kind of foresight that will create more opportunity in the next era of the aerospace sector.”
The $550 million investment will take approximately seven years to complete and will involve upgrades to nearly every building. The new hangar and base support building construction is expected to begin in early 2021 and will take approximately 18 months to complete.
“If there were any doubts about American’s long-term commitment to Tulsa, this transformative investment should put them to rest once and for all,” Neal said. “Through the Chamber-led regional economic development partnership Tulsa’s Future, and in collaboration with the City of Tulsa and State of Oklahoma, we’ve been able to support American’s continued growth in northeast Oklahoma. It’s been a personal privilege to work with American’s leadership team and Tulsa-area employees for more than 14 years, and we at the Chamber look forward to further strengthening this partnership for decades to come.”
Investing in Tulsa
American has proudly maintained the world’s largest commercial aviation maintenance facility in Tulsa since 1946, when it moved its main maintenance base there from New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Today, Tech Ops – Tulsa is home to 22 buildings, including 3.3 million square feet of hangar and shop space positioned on 330 acres at Tulsa International Airport. It is a hub for American’s Base Maintenance system, which also includes key maintenance hangars at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport. American performs more maintenance work in-house than any other airline, due in part to its strong maintenance system infrastructure.
The modernization plan is the latest step following a period of growth for the Tulsa base. American insourced CFM56-5B engine overhaul work there in 2018. In 2019, American and the City of Tulsa invested in a new tail slot modification for Hangar 2D at the base to allow space for larger aircraft. The team began maintenance work on the first scheduled line of Airbus A319 fleet as well as scheduled maintenance on the Boeing 787 fleet, and component repair work was insourced to the base’s Wheel and Brake Center. To support the additional work, American has added more than 600 maintenance positions.
Strengthening Tulsa and surrounding communities
With more than 5,500 team members, American is one of Tulsa’s largest private employers. The carrier has a long history of supporting STEM initiatives in the region — along with technical school partnerships that include Tulsa Technology Center and Spartan School of Aeronautics. American continues to support hands-on learning and building a trained workforce pipeline with the previous donations of McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft to Oklahoma State University, Tulsa Technology Center, Tulsa Air and Space Museum and CareerTech.
Through its Tulsa Community Relations Regional Council, American has developed strong partnerships with local organizations, including the Tulsa chapter of the American Red Cross, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Tulsa Air and Space Museum, and CAP Tulsa. The carrier is a key sponsor for community events, including Flight Night Tulsa, which has supported STEM learning opportunities for 180,000 Oklahoma students.
In 2019, American was named Equity Champion by Mosaic, the diversity and inclusion council of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, for demonstrating strategic and measured collaboration with key partners both inside and outside the organization to ensure sustainable success. American was also recently recognized by the Owasso Chamber of Commerce with the 2019 Economic Impact Award for the recent growth and overall impact of Tech Ops – Tulsa on the city of Owasso, a suburb of Tulsa, for more than 70 years.