Judge approves American Airlines' bankruptcy contract; number of lost jobs remains unknown

TULSA - A bankruptcy judge approved a contract Wednesday between American Airlines' parent company and the Transport Workers Union, effectively cutting hundreds of jobs in Tulsa.

The contract, according to a document released by the Transport Workers Union on its website, is expected to eliminate 993 jobs at the Tulsa maintenance facility, though some predict more cuts will follow.

The exact number of positions lost won't be known for another few weeks. Workers have been given the option of an early payout and the option remains available until the end of the month.

So far, the Tulsa TWU says about 600 workers have signed up for the payout.

The cuts will come in two rounds -- December 2012 and February 2013.

In addition to the Tulsa job cuts, the American Airlines maintenance facility at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth is being closed completely. More than 1,000 jobs will be lost there.

"With the court's approval, we will now begin to put in place the new contracts we reached through consensual agreements with the APFA and TWU," said American Airlines CEO Thomas Horton in a letter sent to workers Wednesday.

Horton says the company is already experiencing positive results from restructuring, with revenue increases in the last 10 months.

The company released a statement following Wednesday's ruling:

"Today, Judge Lane approved our contracts with the TWU M&R and Stores workgroups, and we will begin to move forward with plans we announced earlier this year, including closing our Maintenance & Engineering base located at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, Texas. As we work to streamline all areas of our business and dramatically reduce our costs, it's simply not efficient to have three maintenance bases performing work. In addition, we will move forward this month with our plans to better align with other airlines and use third-party providers for some of our maintenance. For this reason, we anticipate operations at our Alliance base will wind down by the end of the year. With the exception of work performed at Texas Aero Engine Service LLC (TAESL), our joint venture with Rolls-Royce based at Alliance, the base will close by April 2013.                                                                                                                       

"Fortunately, we are able to offer many of our people voluntary early out options and alternative positions at other American Airlines maintenance locations. While it is necessary to restructure our maintenance system to best serve the needs of today's operation and fleet, it does not make these decisions any easier. We remain committed to moving forward so we can return American to its rightful place as an industry leader."

American Airlines declared bankruptcy last November. The airline originally wanted to cut 13,000 union jobs, including 2,100 from Tulsa.

Click here to view AA letter detailing benefits changes.

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