Tuesday, October 31, 2017

American Airlines to close St. Louis pilot base

American Airlines plans to close its St. Louis pilot base in 2018, as it retires its remaining MD-80 fleet.

In a letter sent to pilots, the Dallas/Fort Worth-based carrier said it has made the “difficult” decision to close the St. Louis base in September 2018. The 180 St. Louis pilots will not lose their jobs, but will be reassigned to other bases, spokesman Matt Miller said. The existing flight-attendant base, line-maintenance facility and customer-service positions at the airport will remain, and operations at St. Louis will not decrease, he added. American operates about 40 daily flights in St. Louis.

The carrier has been retiring its MD-80 fleet over the past several years. Miller said 46 remain in the fleet, and these are being phased out over the next year. When the St. Louis pilot base closes, 26 MD-80s will be in the fleet. These aircraft are slated for retirement at the end of 2019.

American acquired a hub at St. Louis when it merged with TWA in 2001. American closed the hub shortly afterward, but maintained the pilot base. The affected pilots worked previously for TWA.

“A sufficient number of positions exist in other crew bases and, of course, transfers will take place according to the joint collective bargaining agreement,” the carrier said in its letter. 

(Madhu Unnikrishnan - Aviation Daily / ATWOnline News)

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