American Airlines maintenance workers seek to cut costs

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: maintenance and reliability
A joint team of management and labor leaders from the American Airlines Maintenance & Engineering Base announced a “breakthrough” goal to obtain $150 million in value creation for the company and turn the base into a profit center by the end of 2007.

The vision of transforming the base from a traditional cost center into a profit center would be achieved through American’s successful Continuous Improvement process to reduce costs and generate revenue from third-party maintenance contracts.

Representatives from both Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 530 and the Kansas City base management gathered recently for several off-site meetings to determine the best path to sustained profitability. Six work groups were formed to focus on efforts such as:

  • Identifying third-party work
  • Generating income by using existing properties and personnel
  • Productivity increases through process improvements
  • Materials management
  • Identify and take action on alternative revenue opportunities
  • Communications

This shared commitment is one of several large-scale, joint planning sessions that have occurred within American Airlines since the company and its unions launched the Working Together initiative in late 2003.

“It is imperative that we continue to look forward – together – to secure our future in Kansas City,” said Gordon Clark, president of TWU Local 530. “By working in a collaborative spirit, we can and will control our own destiny – not just in Kansas City but across the system at American Airlines.”

David Campbell, vice president – Kansas City base, said, “We realize that Continuous Improvement must become our mantra. And we know that meeting the challenge we have set for the Kansas City base requires us to truly work as business partners with the leaders of the TWU, as well as empowering our employees. The collective goal is to grow this base and third-party opportunities for American Airlines.”

American has made tremendous strides in the last year at its Kansas City base, as well as at its two additional overhaul maintenance bases located in Fort Worth, Texas, and Tulsa, Okla. From increased efficiencies to numerous cost-savings initiatives, American’s maintenance and engineering employees have succeeded in reducing costs and making Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) improvements to become a competitive MRO provider.

In fact, American instituted a similar Breakthrough Goal at its Tulsa facility in 2005. Representatives from both the TWU Local 514 and Tulsa Base management convened at a weekend off-site meeting to address the challenge. They emerged with a groundbreaking strategy to turn the base into a profit center by the end of 2006.

“The future of our base resides in our ability to secure maintenance and engineering work from outside companies,” said Ed Chevrestt, managing director – Kansas City base. “The ability to win such bids is a result of our employees’ strong focus on working together and using the Continuous Improvement process. In turn, employees use the principles of the Continuous Improvement process to turn their ideas into plans of action that they execute. By working together, we are controlling our future, and not letting someone else decide it for us.”

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