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ATA Shutdown: 1 Year Ago Today  
User currently offlineTZTriStar500 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1451 posts, RR: 9
Posted (5 years 4 months 12 hours ago) and read 6571 times:

I thought I'd start a thread to note that ATA Airlines (nee American Trans Air) shut down 1 year ago today (April 3, 2008) after 35 years of operation.

It was a scrappy airline like no other involved in everything but cargo with an eclectic fleet and colorful history. I enjoyed my 7 years there until the end and I miss many co-workers. Many of us worked very hard to keep the ship in line and it felt like we were in it together. Too bad it didn't last, but I don't regret my contribution for a second.

Goodbye ATA. You are gone, but not forgotten....at least by me.


35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6306 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (5 years 4 months 12 hours ago) and read 6561 times:

I'll always have a soft spot for ATA. I grew up in Namibia to American (Chicagoan) parents, so we would always tie a trip to Sanibel/Captiva, FL in with a trip to family in Chicago at least once a year. The default was always ATA's MDW-RSW flights, and I remember being on 727's, 757's, and eventually 737's, with the last trip happening...oh about 6 or 7 years ago. Always had fun with ATA, with good crews and the excitement of being on a beach vacation.

I still remember, the first time I heard of them, my dad and I made a video back when I was about 10 (so, 1993-ish) for my mom, surprising her with a birthday present of a trip to Sanibel, in which my dad said "we'll be flying American Trans Air", to which my response was "who the heck are they?!?!".

Definitely will miss ATA, and their old school runway logo.


User currently offlineEI320 From Ireland, joined Dec 2007, 1436 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 4 months 12 hours ago) and read 6506 times:

I remember taking a few photos of an ATA 753 parked up at SNN just a few days before they shut down. I was shocked to hear the news, as ATA were regular visitors at Shannon. I still miss seeing them, the livery was very nice.

User currently offlineFRA2DTW From Germany, joined Feb 2004, 322 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 4 months 11 hours ago) and read 6413 times:

For a period of time they were the largest carrier of U.S. military personnel which is a very competitive business. To this day I do not understand why they shut down so fast because they still had six months of military flying guaranteed by the Fed Ex consortium to which they were a subcontractor. From what I know about their history, their founder tried to stick with a business model long after it had become obsolete. Too bad - it was fun to fly with them.

User currently offlineIFlyATA From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 240 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (5 years 4 months 11 hours ago) and read 6398 times:

Hard to believe it's already been a year, although a lot has changed since then (at least for me). Despite what's changed, I can't forget the memories I enjoyed with the employees who worked for that incredible airline, and the many ways it shaped my identity. It surely lived up to its image of "an honestly different airline" right up till the end.

RIP ATA, you are missed.



ATA - an honestly different airline.
User currently offlineAdam42185 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 413 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 4 months 11 hours ago) and read 6351 times:

I flew ATA once in my life. It was a round trip charter flight from BOS to ATH with stops at SNN and FCO. It was the only time I flew on an L-1011 and we were packed in there, but I loved every minute of it. I was sad when they shut down and I will remember that trip forever.  candle 

User currently offlineBH From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 525 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (5 years 4 months 10 hours ago) and read 6270 times:

Lots of good times with that airline myself, the charter airline world and their workers are a special type. Whenever and whatever you need them to do they can accomplish, they never disappoint! TZTriStar500 is correct, gone but not forgotten!

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User currently offlineFlymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7125 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (5 years 4 months 10 hours ago) and read 6247 times:

I only flew ATA 3 times. FLL-MDW-FLL round trip in 2004. It was my first time to Chicago and my first time on a 737NG. It was a great flight, I remember it like it was yesturday. Also I flew them in 2006 from MDW-LGA in one of their 737-300s. Another great flight and very friendly crew they were a great airline.


"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3149 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (5 years 4 months 10 hours ago) and read 6236 times:

I was leaving on my first leg of IOE at my new operator on this day. We left IND (boy that gave it away) in the morning and the sign was still on the hangar. When we came back about 10 hours later, it was gone.

Scrappy little airline is right. They had a lot of fantastic employees. Thankfully a lot of their flight attendants have found a home with us. You can always tell a former ATA FA from the rest.



DMI
User currently offline7e72004 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3587 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (5 years 4 months 7 hours ago) and read 6018 times:

Does anyone recall or has anyone flown ATA's intrastate Florida flights?


The next generation of aircraft is just around the corner!
User currently offlineFuturePilot16 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2035 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 4 months 7 hours ago) and read 6003 times:

It's been a year already? Sometimes bad things happen to good airlines


"The brave don't live forever, but the cautious don't live at all."
User currently offlineElBandGeek From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 753 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 4 months 6 hours ago) and read 5914 times:

I always considred ATA to be my hometown airline, even though the HQ was in IND...MDW was their home and they sure made that airport what it is today. I know they put alot of cash into the new terminal and I remember going up there every once in a while to spot with my mom and see how the constuction was going. It was kind of tragic the way they shirveled up after the first BK and had WN slowly fill in as they got smaller and smaller, until they were eventually nothing more than an outlet for WN to serve Hawaii. I have to wonder what they would be like today had they not taken that drastic downturn. They were expanding alot up to that point and I would have liked to see them be in the realm of what FL and B6 are today. I would have liked to see more expansion from C8 if for nothing else, the fact that I loved seeing the chicago skyline on the tails. Maybe if they had survived we could have seen that satellite on the south ramp built and perhaps up from Saabs to RJs or Q400s (that livery would look REALLY good on one of those).

RIP ATA....you'll always be my favorite airline


User currently offlineTZTriStar500 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1451 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (5 years 4 months 6 hours ago) and read 5867 times:



Quoting FRA2DTW (Reply 3):
For a period of time they were the largest carrier of U.S. military personnel which is a very competitive business. To this day I do not understand why they shut down so fast because they still had six months of military flying guaranteed by the Fed Ex consortium to which they were a subcontractor. From what I know about their history, their founder tried to stick with a business model long after it had become obsolete. Too bad - it was fun to fly with them.

I can explain the main reason why. In January 2008, FedEx informed ATA that they were removing them from the team for the 2009 allocation. While this was in violation of the teaming agreement that lasted into 2010, with the loss of this source of revenue which was about 60-70% of total revenue, ATA was not able to obtain any financing to continue operations.

By late fall 2007, we were already short on cash, looking to shed the remainder of the scheduled service, and obtain financing, but with the FedEx decision, it was not possible and we were able to sustain operations only until April 3, filed bankruptcy and shut down operations as a last resort.

With the breach of contract of the FedEx decision, the bankrupt estate of ATA has filed a $250 million law suit against FedEx. The apparent main accusation is that NW wanted to take a greater share of flying since they were part of the FedEx team as well.



35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
User currently offlineJerseyGuy From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 1956 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 4 months 5 hours ago) and read 5809 times:
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Quoting 7e72004 (Reply 9):
Does anyone recall or has anyone flown ATA's intrastate Florida flights?

Yes its the only time I ever flew ATA I flew MCO-RSW. I forget exactly when but its was during the times of the "On ATA your on vacation" slogan and while Kiwi was in Business so between 1996 and 1999.

[Edited 2009-04-03 18:53:43]


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User currently offlineDescendVia From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (5 years 4 months 5 hours ago) and read 5753 times:

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/AMT4586

User currently offlineRampGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (5 years 4 months 5 hours ago) and read 5740 times:

I've driven by the ATA headquarters in Indianapolis recently. It was at night and I was able to see inside some of the windows. You could tell the place was emptied out. The entrance was blocked so no one could drive in. It was really sad to see this. What will happen to this building now?

User currently offline7e72004 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3587 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (5 years 4 months 4 hours ago) and read 5682 times:

The Florida intrastate operation consisted of mainly flights out of PIE to MCO, RSW, MIA, FLL, SRQ. How long did that operation last? I agree that it was in the second half of the 90s. I flew the PIE-MIA and FLL-PIE route...very cool to take the 727s on those legs.  Smile


The next generation of aircraft is just around the corner!
User currently offlineSDF880 From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 130 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (5 years 4 months 4 hours ago) and read 5673 times:

I enjoyed my seven yeas at ATA! Lots of memories and lots of friends for sure. I'll never forget sitting in the jumpseat of a 727-200 and departing LAS on runway 25 right on a 100+ degree day!

SDF880


User currently offlineLN-MOW From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1908 posts, RR: 14
Reply 18, posted (5 years 4 months 4 hours ago) and read 5669 times:

Was working in SEA supervising most of the Patriot Express flights 2002-05. Was laid off when scheduled services ended, but continued to work the military charters until I moved to ATL in the summer of 05.

Hard to beleive that the 10th biggest airline in the nation could crash and burn like this ..

Godspeed, all ya fellow ATA'ians out there!!



- I am LN-MOW, and I approve this message.
User currently offlineTZTriStar500 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1451 posts, RR: 9
Reply 19, posted (5 years 4 months 4 hours ago) and read 5640 times:



Quoting RampGuy (Reply 15):
I've driven by the ATA headquarters in Indianapolis recently. It was at night and I was able to see inside some of the windows. You could tell the place was emptied out. The entrance was blocked so no one could drive in. It was really sad to see this. What will happen to this building now?

The last of the contents were auctioned off late last summer and the buildings reverted to the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA). I'm not sure what they will become, but the ATA signs are still there. It sure is sad and odd to see them and the hangar every time I fly out of IND.



35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
User currently offlineLASOctoberB6 From Japan, joined Nov 2006, 2380 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (5 years 4 months 3 hours ago) and read 5566 times:

I miss them too! It's actually kind of depressing..


[NOT IN SERVICE] {WEStJet}
User currently offlineFlyMD From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 278 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (5 years 4 months 1 hour ago) and read 5503 times:

Hard to believe it has already been a year. I too really loved ATA. I flew them tons of times from MDW to the west coast primarily (LAX and SFO) as well as a few trips to Hawaii and DC.
They really did provide a great service at a very reasonable price. And there was nothing like taking off (or landing) from MDW on a 757 (especially a 753). Always made it down to the red zone!



Fly the friendly skies of life!. Enjoy every minute.
User currently offlineKappel From Suriname, joined Jul 2005, 3533 posts, RR: 17
Reply 22, posted (5 years 4 months ago) and read 5390 times:

I flew maybe one of the most unique ATA sectors.... AMS-JFK-PBM-JFK-AMS on a Tristar and a 752. Great experience!

So sad to see what we have said goodbye to in the last year! ATA, Aloha, NW will also soon be gone...  Sad



L1011,733,734,73G,738,743,744,752,763,772,77W,DC855,DC863,DC930,DC950,MD11,MD88,306,319,320,321,343,346,ARJ85,CR7,E195
User currently offlineWjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5130 posts, RR: 22
Reply 23, posted (5 years 4 months ago) and read 5357 times:



Quoting TZTriStar500 (Reply 12):
With the breach of contract of the FedEx decision, the bankrupt estate of ATA has filed a $250 million law suit against FedEx. The apparent main accusation is that NW wanted to take a greater share of flying since they were part of the FedEx team as well.


To me, it seems like longer than a year. Sad.

To explain a little further, I think the allegation is that NW leveraged the fact that its "pledge" of aircraft to the FedEx Team is really what gave the team the Mobilization Value Points to get the AMC business. In most teams, the major carrier that is pledging aircraft doesn't want to do much if any actual AMC flying in peacetime, but rather wants to get commissions on the business flown by charter carriers like ATA. The accusation would be that NW decided that it wanted to do much of the actual flying then done by ATA, and muscled FedEx into kicking ATA out, in violation of the teaming arrangement.

Most states don't have a concept of "tortious breach of contract"; in other words, you are always free to breach any contract that you enter into, for whatever reason that you want, in good faith or bad faith, as long as you are willing to pay the other guy for the actual damage that he suffers from your breach. You don't get usually get extra (punitive) damages for doing it in bad faith, the way you would if you caused a physical injury to someone on purpose. So, generally speaking, in most states all ATA would be able to get from FedEx would be its actual damages if it can show that what FedEx did was a breach.


User currently offlineDeltabobo From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 206 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (5 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 5229 times:

My boss at RD is the former manager of dispatch for TZ. TZ's problem was simple, yet complex. Along with him, and two other TZ guys who work with me, I've gained an insider's perspective on what was the final nail in the coffin for TZ. TZ lost the DOD contract because they had a bean counter MBA running the show who knew nothing of the business and screwed the pooch royally on his last action (the death knell).

As many of you are aware that participate on this forum, the US DOD contract is a major cash cow. However, airlines form teams to bid on the lucrative parts of the contract. TZ, along with OY & FX, formed the FedEx team. The Alliance team consisted of WO & NA, and the UPS team consisted of 5X, RD, and 5M. WO, NA, & TZ were all owned by one holding company, Global Aero Logistics (formerly known as ATA Holdings, Inc.). The Alliance Team were bidding on contracts against the FedEx team, even though GAL owned airlines that were inside both teams. The CEO of TZ (I forget his name) was unhappy with FX for what he described as "sub-level allocation of DOD passenger flying." He went down to MEM to announce to the head of FX's DOD Contract Specialist, that TZ was in the process of acquiring second-hand DC-10 cargo conversions and going to start bidding AGAINST FX for cargo DOD flying. That was the final straw. Note: TZ had a horrible time with the DC-10's that it received from NW. Those planes were always down for maintenance. As the old adage goes, "you ain't makin money if your bird is a sittin" After that meeting, FX kicked them off the team. TZ needed financing to continue operations, but was declined, so my friends, that how's Mikkelson's great airline passed away.



Dispatchers...saving pilots from themselves and their egos since 1938!
25 Accidentally : I for one sure do miss their presence here at IND...I miss seeing the L1011s come and go. Certainly something missing here in Indianapolis
26 Bennett123 : Incidentally, where are the L1011's now?.
27 Post contains links and images AndrewUber : Everyone talks about where they were when Kennedy was shot, when the Challenger exploded - for me the collapse of ATA was just as vivid. I decided to
28 Pilotboi : Wow a year already?...it seems like it was just yesterday we we're hearing about ATA and all the other major airlines that closed their doors. In the
29 Post contains links Bennett123 : Drew When I read your post, I thought of this http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_if.htm
30 Ushermittwoch : My only flight with ATA was also my last (so far?!) on a 727. It was from PIE to MDW then connecting on Chicago Express to MSN. Those were the days...
31 Post contains links Chase : Best job I ever had - I miss ATA a lot. I initially did backend software development, mostly pertaining to hooking together ACARS and our movements da
32 FatmirJusufi : Too bad! We used to see their beautiful DC-10s here at PRN in 2007. Fatmir
33 Post contains links TZTriStar500 : I was there at the same time and I do take some exception to this explanation. Yes, I blame Subodh Karnik, then Chairman, and Gary Elmer, then COO, f
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