Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Northwest Views Will Rogers for Center Site

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Northwest Views Will Rogers for Center Site

Article excerpt

Will Rogers World Airport is under consideration as site for a $200 million aircraft maintenance center planned by Northwest Airlines, it was confirmed Thursday.

When Northwest's center is fully operational, expected within six years, it will employ about 1,200 people, according to Doug Miller, airline spokesman.

First phase of the center will contain three aircraft maintenance hangars and related space while the final facility will contain seven hangars, Miller said.

Plans call for the airline to determine the site before the end of the year, have groundbreaking in 1991 and have the first phase operational in 1992. The final phase would be operational by 1996, he said.

With this announcement, the Oklahoma City airport is now in the running for two aircraft maintenance centers which could employ up to 8,200 people before the end of the decade.

United Airlines announced in March that the Will Rogers World Airport site had survived the first round of cuts and was under consideration for the so-called short list of finalists. Although that list was expected to be announced in late April or early May it has not been made public.

Last week, an airline official said the search committee had not formally met to pare the list of about 15 contenders to the short list. It is not known when that committee will meet.

Officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Neither airline would say how many cities are under consideration.

Northwest Airlines will make no further announcements on its selection process until the site is chosen, Miller said.

"We are deliberately downplaying this whole process," he said. "We don't want officials in the various cities to become excited during the various steps, only to be let down when the final site is announced.

"Because of this we will not say how many sites are under consideration, what states are involved or how each proposal stands in the selection process."

The executive search committee, Miller said, "may have made" some preliminary cuts, but he wouldn't comment on them.

Northwest's facility will be designed to handle the latest generation of high-technology airplanes, specifically the Airbus Industries A320, A330 and A340 manufactured in Europe and the Boeing 757, he said.

All these aircraft use computerized flight controls and have replaced analog cockpit instruments with video display terminals in a so-called "glass cockpit" arrangement.

The European airplanes will be maintained in the new facility while the Boeing 757 will be maintained in both the new center and the existing center at Minneapolis-St. …

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