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American Airlines has been working to transform the company's maintenance and engineering organization from a cost center to a profit center. Through the implementation of a manufacturing approach known as the Continuous Improvement Process, American, its employees and union leaders have been able to reduce costs, improve business efficiencies and significantly optimize operations and productivity.
These processes have created opportunities for American – despite higher salaries and better benefits than many third-party vendors – to competitively bid against third-party vendors for maintenance work. By doing so, American is now using its aircraft maintenance operation to generate new revenue streams.
Moving forward as an organization, American's maintenance operations will continue to engage with employees to raise productivity levels, which help gain and keep third-party contracts. American will use its breadth and size, its technical capability, its facilities and its seasoned and knowledgeable workforce to provide one-stop shopping for potential customers. American can take care of everything in-house.
The success achieved thus far is a tribute to American's employees. American's dramatic operational improvement is a direct result of its ongoing efforts to restructure its business and the willingness of everyone at American to accept change as an inevitable fact of life in the airline industry. But even though progress has been significant, much work remains. Everyone understands that it is important to continue focusing on finding ways to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.