United Airlines, SFO Reach Agreement To Keep Maintenance Base Open

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A United Airlines plane comes in for a landing. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

A United Airlines plane comes in for a landing. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — United Airlines announced on Friday a new 10-year lease extension contract with the San Francisco International Airport to keep its maintenance base open.

More than 3,000 United Airlines mechanics work at the SFO facility, the airline’s largest in the United States.

“We recognize the fact that a lot of aircraft maintenance amongst domestic airlines continues to happen in the United States, mainly for the purpose of being easily to schedule them in for routine maintenance, the fact remains that United and Continental recently went through a merger,” said Doug Yakel, an SFO spokesperson. “There was no doubt an assessment of facilities, which ones should be combined.”

While there was never a threat that United Airlines would close its facility at SFO, Richard Petrovsky, a mechanic and union official, said the industry is always looking at cost savings with cheaper overseas labor.

“That is a primary threat. We work on the most mobile piece of equipment there is in the world,” he said. “If you don’t want to pay for the price of having it overhauled right here, you fly it to where you want to have it taken care of at much lower cost.”

One of the major jobs right now at SFO is the installation of on-board satellite Wi-Fi on United’s wide-body planes.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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