Airline Maintenance

"US Airways told workers at its Tampa, Florida, maintenance base this week that the airline is closing that facility.

For an airline already in some financial turbulence due to falling passenger rates and dropping revenues, that can hardly inspire confidence on the part of the flying public. Maintenance, after all, is what keeps airplanes flying smoothly and reliably. That is not to say the maintenance cannot be done at another of the airline's facilities. But tell that to Tampa.

Wilmington was once a major crew and maintenance base for piedmont airlines, which was bought out by then, USAir. The maintenance, which was being trickled over to other bases, soon petered out, and the flight crews were transferred to hub locations in places like Charlotte and Pittsburgh.

It turned out not to be the end of the world, nor did it jeopardize passenger safety. Nor, likely, will this move. But, just as when Piedmont, whose very first flight more than 50 years ago originated in Wilmington, and puddle-jumped its way to Cincinnati and back in World War II, surplus 'gooney birds', slowly, but inexorably disappeared from the skies, it's difficult to take any comfort in it."