US Airways may close 4-year-old Pittsburgh-area operations control center

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US Airways may close its state-of-the-art operations control center in Moon, built with the help of $16.25 million in public subsidies, as a result of its merger with American Airlines.

Doug Parker, US Airways CEO, told employees last week that the center, opened in November 2008, could be a casualty of the merger, according to a transcript filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The center employs about 700 people.

In response to a question, Mr. Parker said the airlines won't need two centers once they consolidate, adding any closings won't be made until "a couple years from now." He added that any employees displaced by the closing would be offered jobs in Dallas, where the American center is located.

He continued, "But anyway, I'm talking to you but if I was talking to people in the OCC what I'd tell them is that if we were betting right now it's only fair to tell people that, you know, Dallas has a bigger center and is more likely than not that you'd move there," he said.

"But that's not what happened last time and it may not happen this time. Who knows. I don't want to prejudge it. But I also don't want to delude people into thinking that, oh, don't worry about it ... we're going to keep it in Pittsburgh because if I was going to bet right now my guess is it would -- the jobs would move to Dallas."

Mr. Parker's comments came as Allegheny County and airport authority officials are gearing up to make a push to preserve the center as well as jet maintenance jobs in the region. US Airways does heavy maintenance work in Pittsburgh under a lease that runs until the end of 2015, affecting about 900 workers.

The airline once employed 10,000 people in Pittsburgh, but slashed jobs and flights dramatically after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the closing of its hub here in 2004.

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Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262. First Published March 25, 2013 12:15 AM


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