American Airlines To Increase Engine Overhaul Output By 60% At Tulsa Facility

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Summary

  • American Airlines’ engine maintenance in Tulsa aims to overhaul 60% more engines this year, reaching a total of 150, to support its massive fleet.
  • The Tulsa facility is the world’s largest commercial aircraft maintenance base, employing 5,000 team members and 3,200 technicians.
  • The AAERO team in Tulsa has years of experience overhauling engines, ensuring the safety of passengers and maintaining smooth operations.

To keep hundreds of aircraft flying daily, major airlines like American Airlines must have large-scale established maintenance networks to support their ever-growing fleet expansions. Likely, the most important and maintenance-intensive component of any aircraft is its engines, and ensuring that powerplants are operating safely and efficiently is critical to maintaining smooth operations.

For massive airlines, engine maintenance must be streamlined to keep aircraft in the skies and outside the hangars, among the most critical objectives for sustained profitability. American Airlines, which maintains a massive fleet of 957 aircraft, must routinely perform engine maintenance to keep decades-old machinery safe and operational.

The airline maintains a massive engine maintenance and overhaul facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which has grown to be among the industry’s most efficient throughout the years. Recently, American indicated that its Base Maintenance factory in the city was on track to overhaul 60% more engines than last year, aiming to reach an impressive total of 150.

An impressive base

American’s Tulsa facility is strategically located relatively close to the geographic center of the mainland United States to decrease the distance that aircraft are required to fly to the base. The massive maintenance base, which American refers to as its Tech Ops, has been the backbone of the airline’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul operations since 1946.

Photo: American Airlines

The facility is distinguished by its size and stands out as the world’s largest commercial aircraft maintenance base. In Tulsa, American employs nearly 5,000 team members, including 3,200 maintenance technicians alongside overhaul support mechanics.

According to the carrier, more than 800 of its planes visit the base each year, and the maintenance team performs round-the-clock work to efficiently keep everything from avionics to seatbelts in top working condition. In total, the facility covers a space of over 246 acres.

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A large-scale engine operation

The company’s primary engine maintenance operation is based out of a relatively unremarkable building known as the American Airlines Engine Repair Overhaul (AAERO) facility. The AAERO team has hundreds of years of combined experience overhauling engines.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800

Photo: Markus Mainka | Shutterstock

The airline takes pride in its relationship with the maintenance professionals servicing its engines in Tulsa and in its commitment to safety. According to Kevin Harris, one of the carrier’s engine maintenance crew chiefs, safety is the team’s foremost priority, as evidenced by the following statement:

“The most important thing to me is the passenger. Their safety is our number one goal. That engine, to me, is at the heart of keeping them safe.”

According to the airline, engines like the CFM56, which powers multiple variants of the 737 family and the majority of its A320s, require overhaul after 20,000 flight hours or roughly 7,000 takeoffs and landings. The process of overhauling an engine is both complex and labor-intensive and involves completely taking apart the powerplant and rebuilding it.

By maintaining an industry-leading maintenance facility, American can ensure its operations run smoothly and its passengers remain safe. Recently, the airline received a $22 million grant from the State of Oklahoma to support an ongoing $350 million renovation project already being undertaken at the facility.



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