American Airlines has announced its decision to keep open the carrier’s maintenance overhaul base at Kansas City International Airport. American had indicated it might close the KCI facility after a lease with Kansas City expired at the end of the year. But a deal involving state, federal, and local officials, as well as the union representing the workers at the base was put together and American has opted to keep its KCI base up and running. American will retain the 1,700 employees currently working at the facility through 2005 and keep the base open beyond that date. The formal announcement came a KCI news conference attended by Governor Bob Holden, Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes, an American Airlines official, and the head of the union representing the base workers. Holden calls the announcement another victory in the fight to save Missouri jobs. The KCI announcement comes a month to the day after Holden took part in a news conference in St. Louis County to announce an agreement to save Ford’s Hazelwood Assembly Plant open.