Members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation today reacted to the restructuring announcement by American Airlines, the nation's third largest airline. The company, one of the largest employers in the state with nearly 7,000 in Tulsa, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November of last year. Under the bankruptcy protected reorganization, American is seeking to cut roughly 13,000 jobs company wide as it tries to reduce labor costs by 20 percent. According to American, Tulsa will lose 2,850 jobs.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.): "All along we hoped it wouldn't come to this, but since the November bankruptcy filing and American Airline's financial situation became known, it was obvious that such a large restructuring would be difficult on the workforce. It is very disappointing, but looking at the numbers we know that for American Airlines to remain competitive with the rest of the industry it is going to have to make some painful choices. The good news in this otherwise unfortunate situation is that the maintenance facility is going to remain open, which means some jobs will stay, and in the future jobs may even return. I don't want to give anyone false hope about the future, but I will work diligently with the City of Tulsa, American Airlines, and the rest of the Oklahoma congressional delegation to find ways to mitigate the impact on the community while keeping Tulsa a strong business partner for American and others. Making American profitable again is a critical step in that process."
U.S. Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK-01): "While today's announcement was not unexpected, I am still disappointed at the prospect of hard working Tulsan's potentially losing their jobs, especially in this tough economy. As I have said before, bankruptcy proceedings are never easy, but our community will get through this and come out stronger than before. Every community in the American Airlines system is going to suffer to some degree as the bankruptcy proceedings play out -- the silver lining for Tulsa is that our maintenance base facility will remain open for business and we will continue to rally around these workers. As this process moves forward, I remain strongly committed to fighting for Tulsa jobs, and doing everything in my power to remove regulatory burdens and ensure Eastern Oklahoma remains a strong and attractive place to do business."
U.S. Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK-02): "While unfortunate circumstances have caused American Airlines to make employment cuts at this time, it is welcome news that the Tulsa maintenance facility will remain open. Moving forward, the focus must be on minimizing further job losses and working with American to ensure they maintain a presence in our community."
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK-04): "While this news is disappointing, there is good reason to believe the restructuring will allow American Airlines to recover and continue to maintain a strong presence in Oklahoma. With our state's skilled workforce and strong economy, Oklahoma is well-positioned to attract new businesses. The congressional delegation will continue to work with state and local leaders to minimize disruptions for workers and ensure Oklahoma remains an attractive location for the aviation industry."