Dozens of workers at American Airlines maintenance base at Alliance Airport are losing their jobs Friday.
American Airlines says starting Friday 252 workers are being laid off and over the next few weeks about 700 employees are transferring within the company. The airline said 230 took an early retirement option.
Employees said they’re being called in three people at a time to get their final paperwork.
They’ve known about the cuts about a year, but it doesn’t make their last day on the job any easier.
“The company elected to let this go, in my opinion, for greed,” said maintenance worker Dennis Robinson.
Robinson is one of the victims of American Airlines bankruptcy. He’s thankful he’s already found another job, but frustrated by American Airlines CEO/President Tom Horton’s lack of a send-off.
“Mr. Horton, I say, it speaks highly of his character, not even to come out here and speak to us,” said Robinson.
American plans to shut down the maintenance and engineering base as early as March. A company spokesman said there will be some work done on components, not aircraft, into part of next year.
“Although it will be a few months before we will complete all work at Alliance, the vast majority of work there is now complete," said Bill Collins, Vice President of Base Maintenance at American. "We are all quite sad to be bringing it to a close. Throughout restructuring we had to look at all of our options to make the airline more competitive and get our costs in line with the rest of the industry, and that regrettably included closing the Alliance base, though it served us well for many years.
“To the employees, this is totally unfair. Management took so much and has given so little back to employees,” said maintenance worker Helen Petty.
Initially the company thought the cuts would be even more painful, but around 700 employees have decided to stay with American and relocate. It’s not a welcomed move for Alicia Besette’s family. Her husband, who is a mechanic, is now Miami-bound.
“We’ve just been run through the ringer, financially speaking, emotionally speaking, you name it. It’s enough. They talk about shared sacrifice? The only ones I see making the sacrifice thus far are us, the lower end, the mechanics, spouses, children,” said Besette.
Aircraft mechanic and Arlington-native Dave Warden is leaving a company he’s been dedicated to more than a decade.
“After 13 years, it’s a little emotional. We’re going to be okay,” said Warden.
American Airlines was the first tenant at Alliance Airport 23 years ago. The company makes up about three percent of the workforce at the location.
Neighboring businesses expect to feel the pain from the loss.
“It would really hurt our business, and yes, we talk to our customers about it and they're very, like they don't know what's going to happen or anything,” said Betty Yeary, manager at Snooty Pig Restaurant. “So we're all concerned about it.”
The Chamber of Commerce tells NBC 5 that half a dozen companies have already looked at possibly moving into the 1.6 million square foot facility.
A lot of work done at the Alliance location will be outsourced to other companies.