US Airways expanded its operations in Tempe on Friday by opening two office buildings that can handle as many as 800 employees. The carrier has moved some 700 employees into 150,000 square feet — about the size of three traditional grocery stores — at the Rio West Business Park at Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway.
The space is being used for support functions, including customer relations, accounting, purchasing, cargo sales and training.
The move is the result of a plan to save $600 million following the merger of US Airways and America West Airlines last year. As a result of the merger, about 1,000 jobs were to be added in Tempe, where the company is headquartered.
Some of the jobs were filled with employees who transferred from US Airways operations in Arlington, Va., Charlotte and Winston-Salem, N.C., and Pittsburgh.
Some employees moved into the new buildings from US Airways’ nine-story Tempe headquarters. Others were moved there from other Tempe locations, including a building on 52nd Street.
A customer relations center in Winston-Salem was closed and positions moved here.
A company spokesman said its still unclear how many jobs were gained in Tempe. At the time of the merger, US Airways employed about 2,000 in Tempe.
“Once things settle down, we can have some time to look back and see what the shift has been,” said Morgan Durrant, US Airways spokesman.
Durrant said the new buildings will help frontline employees so the company can continue to better serve its customers. None of the locations where the departments were previously will be closed, Durrant said.
The Rio West project was under construction for 7 1/2 months and it took a month to move employees into the buildings. The furniture, filing cabinets and art were brought in from the former US Airways headquarters in Virginia and 5 closed U.S. Airways clubs.
Rio West is 25 acres just west of Tempe Town Lake. It’s owned by SunCor Development Co.