Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Decision Yet on Airline Facilities Us Airways Disputes Claims of Local Closures

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Decision Yet on Airline Facilities Us Airways Disputes Claims of Local Closures

Article excerpt

US Airways is disputing a claim by two local congressmen that a heavy maintenance base at Pittsburgh International Airport could be "shuttered" next year as a result of the carrier's merger with American Airlines.

U.S. Reps. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and Mike Doyle, D- Forest Hills, made the claim in an April 8 letter to US Airways CEO Doug Parker in which they also raised concerns about the potential loss of the US Airways operations control center in Moon.

Combined, the two facilities employ more than 1,600 people.

In a written response to the congressmen's concerns, Thomas Chapman, US Airways vice president of government affairs, said, "No decision has been made on the future status of any of our facilities located in Pittsburgh or elsewhere."

That includes, his letter read, the heavy maintenance base, which primarily services narrow-body Airbus jets and has a lease that runs through 2015. Mr. Chapman said no decision has been made on whether to extend the lease.

Mr. Doyle said concerns about the maintenance base being closed in 2014 came as a result of conversations with US Airways officials who indicated American and US Airways could begin consolidating operations in as little as 18 months, depending on when the U.S. Justice Department approves the merger.

While US Airways never flatly stated in the discussions that the Pittsburgh maintenance base would close, Mr. Doyle said it didn't take much reading between the lines to conclude the base was in jeopardy. He said airline officials talked about consolidating operations and mentioned that American has a large maintenance base in Tulsa, Okla.

"They didn't say, 'Pittsburgh, you're out,' but they didn't say, 'Pittsburgh, you're in.' They said they're going to make a decision," he said.

As a result of the discussions, Mr. Doyle said he and Mr. Murphy had "serious concerns" about the future of the maintenance and operation centers in Pittsburgh.

"I think it's only prudent that we look at the worst case scenario because we're not being given any assurance by US Airways that they're going to keep the operations or maintenance centers here," he said. …

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