American Airlines Tulsa base featured on CNBC

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Saw a very interesting documentary tonight on CNBC: "Inside American Airlines: A Week in the Life." Tulsa aircraft maintenance personnel feature prominently in several segments: The process of overhauling an MD-80 aircraft, cost-cutting efforts (e.g., building tailcones in Tulsa instead of buying them from Boeing), and rank-and-file reaction to the executive bonuses that led to CEO Donald Carty's resignation.

The documentary covers the dire financial state of the airline industry, something that seems to be the permanent state of things. Bob Crandall, former CEO, was asked whether he would invest in an airline right now (link goes to 2 minute video excerpt):

"The industry hasn't earned its cost of capital since it was created in the late 1930s. I don't see anything on the horizon that would change that.... I've never invested in any airline. I'm an airline manager. I don't invest in airlines. And I always said to the employees at American, 'This is not an appropriate investment. It's a great place to work. It's a great company. It does important work. But airlines are not an investment.'"

Hmm. I could have sworn AA had an employee stock ownership program.

You can watch the full 90 minute episode online as well as several excerpts at the program's webpage.

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TD said:

When I used to work there, they had the employee option program and I'm sure they still do. Some of the employees took advantage of it. personally, I looked at it as putting all my eggs in one basket. If times were bad (and they were) and I got laid off (and I did) then my stock would be worth a fraction of what I paid for it when I needed it most.

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