Letter says American Airlines overhaul base to close in September

In a letter to employees released this morning, American Airlines said that it would shut down its Kansas City overhaul base, which has been an economic force in the area since the 1950s, in September 2010.

Airline officials met with city leaders Tuesday, apparently to inform the city of the plans to close the maintenance facility at Kansas City International Airport next year.

The base employs about 500 people, including 450 union workers.

The letter says the Kansas City closing, along with other changes at the airline, could mean the loss of 700 jobs company-wide.

"We are working diligently to find ways to minimize the impact on our people and will provide voluntaryseparation options for our TWU-represented employees," the letter said.

Those in Kansas City and St. Louis who leave before September 2010 will be offered a separation allowance of $12,500.

Despite the city’s efforts a few years ago to keep American’s maintenance base operating with a renewed lease, the facility has been gradually getting smaller through layoffs and a decreasing workload.

American has two other maintenance bases in its system. The biggest is in Tulsa, Okla., and it has a new facility at its headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.

American has been making improvements to its Tulsa Maintenance & Engineering Center in recent years and has added work there. Tulsa officials also have made efforts to work with American and protect the 7,000 jobs the airline provides there.

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