Layoffs at American Airlines could affect nearby businesses

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

As nearly 1,000 Green Country residents await a judge's decision on the fate of their jobs at the American Airlines maintenance facility in north Tulsa, business owners in the area say they are feeling the heat too.

A judge is expected to rule Wednesday on a proposal from AMR, American Airlines' parent company, to eliminate hundreds of jobs in Tulsa.  In addition to those cuts, the company is looking to close the Fort Worth maintenance base.

According to documents released by the Transport Workers Union, 993 positions are being eliminated at Tulsa's facility. That means fewer customers at surrounding businesses like Sami's Pizza and Hamburgers, which operates just down the road from the Tulsa facility.

Nearly 1,000 fewer people in the area spells an uncertain future for Moean Ghanem, owner of Sami's.

Ghanem says about 30 percent of his business comes from American Airlines' employees. He's been in his location for three years and in the restaurant business for 14.

Ghanem says he's never experienced anything quite like this.

"We pray that something comes up and they change...," said Ghanem. "I don't know, we might close down for the next year or so, if business slowed down. I don't know what we're going to do. It's a bad deal."

Not far away on Pine and Mingo is Christy's Good Food. The owner there says the cuts will impact his business as well.

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