San Diego is thousands of miles away, but USAir's sale of its engine-maintenance operation there could hit home with some of the airline's mechanics here in Baltimore.
The Arlington, Va.-based airline said Wednesday that it plans to sell the assets of its money-losing Pacific Southwest Airmotive subsidiary to Aviall of Texas, in a transaction that could leave more than 300 mechanics looking for work.
Aviall has said it will vacate the San Diego location and combine Airmotive's assets with its Dallas engine-repair operation. Therefore, it will not need the USAir mechanics in San Diego.
That could mean trouble for USAir's maintenance crew at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, which has already been informed that its staff of about 170 will lose 20 positions as of May 1.
"People [in San Diego] might have the seniority to bid on Baltimore jobs," David H. Shipley, USAir spokesman, said.
Some of San Diego's displaced workers, who are members of the International Association of Machinists, the union representing mechanics and maintenance workers at USAir, have already begun to peruse the 4-inch thick seniority log in search of "bumping" targets, according to a union member there.
The log, which is updated monthly, lists every job within the system by shift, classification and the current employee's seniority level, "so basically, we know where we could go," said the member. Locations include Baltimore and Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem in North Carolina.
USAir, which is selling Airmotive as part of its previously announced corporate restructuring, said that about 95 of San Diego's 400 positions will be transferred to its main engine shop in Pittsburgh.