3Q15 State of the Airline Q&A - Operations


Aug 20, 2002
Tech Ops
Q. Many of our systems integration projects are wrapping up and heading for completion next year. Two years into the merger we have yet to decide what system to adopt as our M&E platform. The legacy American systems were ruled out as inadequate early on and the legacy US system is the same one adopted by Delta and United. The adopt-and-go system of choice would seem to be obvious. Given the cost and complexity of maintaining two systems why have we taken so long to get started on integration for M&E?
A. While getting to a single, integrated maintenance IT system is an important integration milestone, it’s important to take the time to make the right decision for Tech Ops’ future. In this case, a quick decision to adopt-and-go with the AA systems was ruled out because adopting and expanding the legacy AA systems, as-is, would potentially not meet our compliance and operational expectations. 
So we’ve undertaken an extensive review of systems options, including what enhancements we’d need, and if there are more modern technologies we should use. This process should wrap up in the next few months. 
Once we’ve selected an end-state system, we’re still a few more years away from full maintenance IT systems integration. That’s always been the expected timeline, and is why we developed SAFE (System Agnostic Front End) – to present a common look and feel for employees as they use our core maintenance systems. SAFE provides the compliance and operational benefits of an integrated system while we work to combine the underlying core systems. As we continue the effort to select and implement the end-state Tech Ops system, we will continue to develop and deploy further enhancements to SAFE.
Q. Going into 2016 we have a massively reduced dock schedule in Tulsa. Can we anticipate some new fleet types to be assigned to Tulsa to replace the MD-80 and B757s?
A. The reduction of MD-80 work in 2016 is being offset by an additional B737 line of maintenance driven by a growing fleet. The B757/B767 lines of maintenance will be supplemented with project work, such as strut improvement modification, interior retrofit and avionics upgrade modifications in order to utilize the current capacity.
Q. When is leadership planning on making a visit to TUL to speak with employees?
A. Leadership has been active in Tulsa this year. Nearly 40 officers, including the entire Operations Team leadership, held their annual AA Operations Strategy Meeting at the Tulsa Base in April. They also toured the CRO, Engines, Landing Gear, and Hangar Operations areas, and spoke with many employees. In each area, the lead mechanics and supervisors presented their operations and progress to the officer team, prompting healthy dialog and Q&A. Additionally, Elise Eberwein, EVP of People and Communications, toured the Tulsa Base in June, and had a chance to visit with base leaders and employees in all areas. We continue to look for additional opportunities to bring leaders to Tulsa to showcase the great work by our Tech Ops team there.
Q. Are there any plans of closing the Tulsa Maintenance Base?
A. There are no plans to close the Tulsa Maintenance Base. Our intent for the Tulsa Base operation is for it to continue to be a Center of Excellence for heavy maintenance and repairs for the company, and we have not changed our position since the merger. Tulsa will continue to focus on high volume work, which the workforce is very good at.
Q. I have been at Tulsa for almost 30 years. Will I be able to retire in Tulsa in 10-15 years?
A. Our plan for the Tulsa Base is for it to stay open and continue to produce high quality heavy maintenance and repairs on our large fleet of aircraft. The AA leadership team is working very hard to assure that the next generation of coworkers has a solid business to work in for the next decades. We hope that you want to stay with the company until you are ready to retire.
Q. With TAESL finally closing, why do people losing their jobs have to bid for jobs instead of moving them in to open slots?
A. All frontline employees at TAESL will have the opportunity to stay with the company if they choose to do so. We will be working with the TWU to create some additional new maintenance opportunities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as well as offer continued employment throughout American at other locations for those who desire it. However, for TWU-represented employees subject to a reduction in force, the AA/TWU agreement provides certain rights for employees to select or choose opportunities in seniority order.
Q. I am an AMT with 25 years this month. Speaking as employees only, Tech Ops management doesn’t seem to want to work with us mechanics. When will management, in aircraft maintenance, begin to get along with its mechanics and work with its mechanics to achieve the same goals of making American Airlines maintenance the best in the industry?
A. The Tech Ops management team is committed to working with our mechanics and all employee groups within Tech Ops and the airline as a whole. There have been quite a number of employee involvement teams deployed that have helped define process improvements, equipment selections, paperwork corrections and adjustments, etc. Now that we have moved past the Single Operating Certificate phase of our integration, there are increased opportunities for employee involvement to enhance the many aspects the Tech Ops segment of our airline and we are committed to finding more opportunity to involve Tech Ops members are all levels of the organization.
Q. Why does maintenance paperwork take so long? I have seen many times a simple placard take well over an hour due to all the paperwork, causing missed connections at the hubs and inconvenience to our customers.
A. We know maintenance paperwork and the processes associated with completing paperwork are in general need of streamlining, and we are very committed to getting that done. Leading up to Single Operating Certificate, we had a huge effort focused on developing and implementing processes and procedures within Tech Ops to make sure just about everything was as common as it could be to both legacy carriers, including developing a new aircraft logbook to maintain the highest levels of compliance. We’re now ready to streamline the effort by looking at every aspect of the process. We will also look at how mobile technology can be better developed and deployed to enhance the process. Specific to MEL and NEF placards, a working group is being established to look at opportunities to streamline the process of applying and clearing placards.
Buck said:
Sorry I was not clear this is about keeping Tulsa open
I can't imagine AA shutting down TUL. Downsizing and moving PIT opps to TUL? That one I can see happen. 
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That can only happen if in the JCBA PIT becomes unprotected, right now its protected along with CLT and PHX Base Mtc.
700UW said:
That can only happen if in the JCBA PIT becomes unprotected, right now its protected along with CLT and PHX Base Mtc.
The IAM has proven if you throw enough money at them they will be more than happy to close stations and bases. 
Hasnt happened at US and the members ratify the CBA, not the IAM representatives.
700UW said:
That can only happen if in the JCBA PIT becomes unprotected, right now its protected along with CLT and PHX Base Mtc.
Maybe, as I have not read the IAM CBA I do not know if it is like the TWU.
Buck said:
Maybe, as I have not read the IAM CBA I do not know if it is like the TWU.
Right now PIT (and CLT/PHX) are protected but I just don't see the majority of the combined groups voting to save PIT if the company wants to consolidate down.

I think PIT goes because economically it seems to fit in the least. Right now at least some engine work seems to be staying in-house (CFM56) which points to saving TUlE (plus a better geographic position and a local government seemingly willing to pay for anything)
And CLT is a large hub which cuts out ferry costs and lowers supply chain costs compared to PIT/TUL

hopefully you guys set a scope that will mean the company has to (because of all the work) keep the three bases around though.

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