“You can’t be late until you show up.”
It appears American Airlines Group will continue to have a large presence in the Valley — at least for the next five years.
When Ft. Worth, Texas-based American Airlines and Tempe-based US Airwaysmerged last year in a $17 billion deal, there was fear among the business community that American Airlines would pull up stakes and move a great deal of its operations to Texas.
But the company just renewed a 5-year lease for its 201,724-square-foot space at Tempe’s Rio West Business Park, a few miles west of the former US Airways headquarters in downtown Tempe.
“As we have said, the new American Airlines will maintain a significant corporate presence in Arizona,” said Matt Miller, spokesman for American Airlines. “Having access to real estate in the Phoenix area is tremendously important as we bring together our two airlines and work to centralize some of the key functions in the Valley of the Sun.”
In March, the company announced plans to bring several accounting, information technology and customer service jobs to the Phoenix area. They will all be housed at the Rio West Business Park, he said.
Miller said that will mean hundreds of new jobs coming to Tempe.
“Arizona and the entire Phoenix area is tremendously important to American and we’re excited to have extended the lease of these buildings,” Miller said.
The new lease agreements for the Rio West space run through April 2019 for Buildings B and E, and until September 2017 for Building A.
The company is the anchor tenant of the business park, housing accounting, customer service and information technology jobs. The office complex is at 1821, 1921 and 2021 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe.
The former US Airways headquarters is a few miles east at 111 W. Rio Salado Parkway in downtown Tempe. That building is not part of the lease expansion announced today, and American has not revealed any long-term plans for the site.
American Airlines Group has reservations and customer service functions at other spots in Tempe, in addition to its airport flight, training and maintenance operations at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. In all, American Airlines employs more than 10,000 people in Arizona.
Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, said he is glad to hear that the airline renewed its Tempe leases.
“We had been assured by the team that they wanted to make sure they had a presence here — that Phoenix is an important hub for them,” Sanders said. “If you look at the jobs that are going to be located in these areas, it’s a very broad mix of jobs. It’s good because it certainly speaks to the fact that they’re committed here. These are jobs that are important to them and to their operations. We’re really pleased.”
Angela Gonzales covers health, biotech and education.
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