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American to shut down engine repair facility in Fort Worth

Texas Aero Engine Services Limited mechanics work on an overhaul of a RB211 fan case at the American Airlines maintenance base at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth. American announced Tuesday that it will shut down the facility by January. (FWST/Tom Pennington)
Texas Aero Engine Services Limited mechanics work on an overhaul of a RB211 fan case at the American Airlines maintenance base at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth. American announced Tuesday that it will shut down the facility by January. (FWST/Tom Pennington) FWST/Tom Pennington

American Airlines will end its long presence at Alliance Airport next year when the carrier and Rolls-Royce close an engine repair facility they’ve jointly operated for nearly two decades.

The closing of Texas Aero Engine Service LLC, which will happen by January, will affect 600 workers, although most will be offered other jobs at American. TAESL was created as a 50-50 partnership between Rolls Royce and the Fort Worth-based carrier in 1998 to provide maintenance and to repair and overhaul jet engines in American’s fleet.

Airplane maintenance has been a fixture at Alliance since the industrial airport opened in 1991, anchored by an American maintenance base. But that facility closed in 2013 as part of the airline’s restructuring in bankruptcy court. The former American maintenance hangar has been leased to GDC Technics of San Antonio, an aircraft modification company that set up shop earlier this year.

Rolls Royce approached American about closing TAESL as the workload at the facility continued to decline. The engine maker plans to shift future engine work to other facilities in the U.S. and other countries.

“After reviewing load forecasts for the TAESL programs, Rolls-Royce has concluded that declining future volumes of overhauls for Trent 800 and RB211 will no longer support a commercially viable operation,” said Simon Burr, Rolls-Royce’s chief operating officer for civil large engines.

American said it will provide jobs for about 500 mechanics and related workers at TAESL who are represented by the Transport Workers Union. The airline said it is creating an additional 100 jobs in Dallas/Fort Worth for the mechanics, including at its maintenance hangar at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. It also operates a maintenance base in Tulsa.

“They have consistently delivered quality work and made significant contributions to American and Rolls-Royce. Their level of expertise is second to none,” said David Seymour, American’s senior vice president for technical operations.

“Unfortunately, there simply isn’t enough work to sustain the cost of operating this facility. We will work with the TWU to create some additional new maintenance opportunities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as well as offer continued employment throughout American at other locations for those who desire it.”

The TWU did not have any immediate comment.

The union workers will also be offered a voluntary buyout package that includes severance if they are unable to relocate or choose to retire early from American.

The 100 management and support workers will also be offered severance packages if they are unable to find similar job opportunities within American or Rolls Royce.

Fort Worth took control of the airline’s former maintenance facility at Alliance earlier this year and leased it for 25 years to GDC Technics.

GDC took over the facility in March and is now up and running. The company has said it plans to hire more than 600 employees in Fort Worth over the next five years.

American was to have leased the property from the city until August 2028.

Staff writer Sandra Baker contributed to this report.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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