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Tulsa flies high with American Airlines facility upgrades

Tulsa flies high with American Airlines facility upgrades (KTUL)

Tulsa city leaders and American Airlines are celebrating Wednesday by unveiling upgrades to the airline's maintenance facility.

It's the kind of news that calls for a big crowd, a crowd as big as an airplane.

"This is an Airbus A319 airplane that, prior to yesterday, was not scheduled to be in Tulsa ever," said Erik Olund, Managing Director of Base Maintenance for American Airlines.

Surprisingly, it's all thanks to this tiny tail slot.

"It seems like such a small thing, but it's important to understand why we had to do this," said Mayor G.T Bynum.

"It means a lot to us," said Craig Barton, Vice President of Technical Services for American Airlines. "It really finishes off this whole hangar complex to transition from that 1950s/40s feel to work today's modern airplanes."

American Airlines is switching to bigger planes. So, Vision Tulsa has been putting its dollars into this hangar complex, adding tail slots so these roomy planes can fit.

It's a small change that's going to have a big impact here in Tulsa.

"This will allow us to service the new generation of American's aviation fleet, which secures jobs for thousands of people in our community for years to come," said Bynum.

The goal is to keep Tulsa an essential part of American Airlines operations, so the company stays in T-town for several more decades.

"We're excited to be back out here in the future as we continue to grow this base and continues to grow employment in our region," said Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mike Neal.

This project only took six months to finish and cost about $2.3 million. That money came out of the "Vision Tulsa Tax," which was approved by voters in 2016.

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