ST. LOUIS, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Trans World Airlines, Inc. (Amex: TWA - news) today announced orders and options for 250 state-of-the-art, new technology aircraft, the largest aircraft order in TWA history.
TWA has signed letters of intent to acquire 50 Boeing 717-200 aircraft for delivery beginning in February, 2000; 50 Airbus A318 aircraft for delivery beginning in 2003; and 25 Airbus ``A320 Family'' aircraft for delivery beginning in 2005. The A320 Family includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321 models; TWA will select the exact mix of A320 family aircraft that will comprise the 25 aircraft in the order at a later date.
In addition to the 125 firm orders, TWA has taken options on an additional 50 Boeing 717s and an additional 75 A320 Family aircraft.
The B717s will be powered by BR715 engines manufactured by BMW Rolls Royce. The A318s will be powered by the newly designed PW6000 engines manufactured by Pratt & Whitney. Engines for A320 Family aircraft other than the A318 have not been selected.
TWA has secured financing for all of the firm order airframes and engines.
``The management of TWA is focused on securing and building this airline's future. One way we do this is by securing for our people the very best tools with which they can do business. Our agreements with Airbus and Boeing will provide those tools and will fashion our narrow-body aircraft acquisition program for the next decade,'' said Gerald L. Gitner, chairman and chief executive officer.
``The aircraft in these orders, when delivered, will complete the revitalization of our narrow-body fleet that began in 1996 with the delivery of our first 757 and continues today. In 1999, TWA will receive 37 previously ordered new Boeing aircraft, including 24 MD83s, 12 757s and one 767-300 -- on average, more than one new aircraft every ten days. We have retired our 747 and L1011 fleets and will have the opportunity to retire the 727 fleet as early as the end of 1999. By the end of 1999, TWA will have replaced at least 42 percent of the fleet since 1996,'' Gitner said.
``TWA's previous aircraft orders are reducing TWA's average aircraft age from more than 19 years in 1996 to 11.3 years on New Year's Day, 2000. The new orders announced today will continually reduce average aircraft age, to 10.3 years by the start of 2003 and 7.3 years by the start of 2007. TWA is building one of the most modern fleets in the airline industry,'' Gitner said.
``This aircraft order will enable TWA to continue its fleet renewal through the first decade of the next century with modern, state-of-the-art aircraft, as well as provide TWA the opportunity to grow our fleet,'' said William F. Compton, president and chief operating officer. ``Each of the aircraft models in this order has a particular and important role to play in TWA's future.''
TWA currently is one of the world's largest operators of DC9 aircraft. The new B717 in TWA's configuration will upgrade and replace the DC9, offering improved range and payload characteristics in a state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly new aircraft. TWA expects the B717 to deliver a 35 percent direct operating cost advantage over the DC9. TWA plans to operate 30 previously hushkitted DC9s after the Stage III conversion deadline of December 31, 1999. As the B717s enter the fleet the DC9s will be phased out by 2005.
TWA plans to configure its 717 aircraft with 111 passengers seats including 16 in the Trans World First cabin and 95 in the main cabin.
``The 717 is an ideally suited full-size, high-frequency hub airliner that will serve the heart of America from our St. Louis hub, allowing TWA to provide new services economically to new North American cities from the Rockies eastward to the Atlantic, as well as from New York to destinations throughout the eastern half of North America,'' Compton said.
TWA will be the first airline customer for the A318 and the PW6000 engine. The A318 will be Airbus's newest model, incorporating all of Airbus's renowned technology and powered by Pratt & Whitney's newest engine, the PW6000. TWA plans to configure the A318 for 110 passengers, including 16 in the Trans World First cabin and 94 in the main cabin. The A318 cabin will include all the amenities to which passengers have become accustomed in the cabins of other A320 Family aircraft.
From TWA's St. Louis hub the medium-range A318 will be able to reach any destination in the 48 contiguous United States, Canada or Mexico; from New York, it will be able to fly to any U.S. or Canadian destination east of the Rockies. The A318's 110-seat capacity with approximately 2,000 mile range will enable TWA to use the aircraft to open new markets and add frequency on longer, thinner routes from St. Louis, New York and other cities throughout TWA's North American network.
``For many important destinations on the West Coast, for example, our 142-seat MD83s are too large to deploy with the amount of frequency business travelers require. The new A318 will allow TWA to address this need. It will offer the size and range to enable TWA to serve many of these destinations more economically from our St. Louis hub. As the St. Louis airport is expanded -- about the time the A318s begin arriving -- our hub schedule will be able to grow with the airport. Additionally, the A318s will be available to replace some of our older MD80s as leases on those aircraft expire, and will support fleet growth as our markets evolve and grow,'' Compton said.
Under TWA's agreement with Airbus, the twenty-five A320 Family aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2005-2007.
``This fleet plan using Airbus and Boeing aircraft gives TWA the flexibility to reevaluate our narrow-body fleet plan periodically, knowing that we can adjust the orders to provide the aircraft we need, whether that need is for more 100-seaters to support TWA's hub operations or off-hub flying, or for larger aircraft to replace or supplement various 140 to 180 seat planes coming off lease in the coming decade,'' Gitner said.
``We couldn't be more pleased that TWA chose the 717 for its high frequency routes,'' said Alan Mulally, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president. ``This decision is particularly meaningful to us because TWA looked at all its options, and ultimately they chose the 717 for its low operating costs and overall value it provides.''
``We're very pleased that TWA, a pioneer in introducing new aircraft, is the first airline to commit to the new A318,'' said Noel Forgeard, Airbus Industrie's chief executive officer. ``The A320 Family is a perfect fit for TWA's expanding route system. It also offers the flexibility to answer the airline's 100-to-185 seat requirements.''
``We are thrilled that TWA, a Pratt & Whitney customer almost from the time our company was founded, is once again building its future with Pratt power,'' said Karl J. Krapek, Pratt & Whitney president. ``We want TWA to know that every one of us at Pratt is committed to making the PW6000 the industry leader in cost, performance and reliability.''
``TWA's order for 50 Boeing 717-200 twinjets is a breakthrough for our BR715 engines in the airline market. This agreement with TWA will send a signal to interested airlines world-wide,'' said Dr. Klaus Nittinger, chairman of BMW Rolls Royce. ``As a major supplier and partner in the aircraft program, we are proud to contribute with the reliability and the economical, ecological performance of the BR715 to this market success.''
TWA flies approximately two million passengers per month on more than 800 daily flights to 90 destinations in America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Frequent Flyer/J.D. Power & Associates recently named TWA the number one airline in 1998 in customer satisfaction for long flights, meaning domestic flights of 500 miles or more.
TWA Delivery Schedule:
B717-200, A318, A320 Family
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
B717-200 15 15 12 8
A318 11 11 11 11 6
A320 Family 6 7 12
Total 15 15 12 19 11 17 18 18