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American Airlines closing Phoenix flight training center, moving some workers to Charlotte

Inside the simulator, a 240-degree projection screen can visually place the pilots anywhere the airline flies, changing the scene as the "plane" changes speed, direction and altitude. In this photograph, uptown Charlotte is outside the left center window.
Inside the simulator, a 240-degree projection screen can visually place the pilots anywhere the airline flies, changing the scene as the "plane" changes speed, direction and altitude. In this photograph, uptown Charlotte is outside the left center window. GARY O'BRIEN - gobrien@charlotte

American Airlines said Thursday that it plans to close its Phoenix flight training center and move some instructors and engineers to Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The airline is also moving some trainers to Fort Worth, Tex., where American is headquartered. Charlotte Douglas was US Airways’ biggest hub and has long had a pilot training center, with large simulators where flight crews hone their skills. Following the 2013 merger with American, Charlotte became the second-busiest hub in the combined system.

The 30 Phoenix-based flight crew instructors and simulator engineers will be offered positions in either Charlotte or Fort Worth, American Capt. Kimball Stone said in a letter to pilots. The switchover should be complete by the third quarter 2017.

“Moving to two training centers will help remove duplications in training that currently exist and provide a more consistent training experience for pilots,” wrote Stone. “This will all be particularly important as pilots change fleets due to pilot retirements and fleet changes from retiring older aircraft and new deliveries.”

“We have no plans to remove training from our CLT Flight Training Center,” he wrote.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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