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Would TWA Still Exist If It Hadn't Been For Ichan?  
User currently offlineTriL1011star From United States of America, joined Jan 2014, 32 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 9161 times:

What are your opinions on this?

57 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePC12Fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2421 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 9114 times:

Tough to say, but I would definitely say TWA would have had a much better shot at it. Then again, I think they would have had a tough time with all of the mega carriers out there now unless they came up with a unique business plan that was radically different from the norm.

Either way, Long live That Wonderful Airline!



Just when I think you've said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talkin'!
User currently offlinejetjeanes From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1430 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 9078 times:

I believe they could have emerged and down sized and made it,, Icahn was a snake in the grass,, he was selling tickets through his travel agency he owned cheaper than twa could sell their tickets for,,, he is know for being ruthless,, I have no respect for him in the biz world

[Edited 2014-03-08 06:55:44]


i can see for 80 miles
User currently offlineSpaceshipDC10 From Canada, joined Jan 2013, 1603 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 9058 times:

Without Icahn, some downsizing through fleet renewal i.e. dropping these old and uneconomical 747s earlier, and probably the TriStar too, at least part of these, maybe TWA would have lived longer.


KEEP LOOKING UP as in Space Fan News
User currently offlineCF-CPI From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 1041 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 8978 times:

In his TWA history, written in the early 80s, Robert J Serling made a central point that TWA never really recovered from Howard Hughes, and that the aging fleet we associate with them was a legacy going back to the late 50s. The early 80s were critical: while AA had retired the 707 in late 1981, TW soldiered on with it until 1983. The airline did not have the funds to acquire L1011-500 white tails from Lockheed at rock bottom prices (these instead went to Royal Jordanian). One aspect of the Icahn years, namely an order for the A330, might have actually allowed them to clean house sooner (an old and varied 747-100 fleet, etc). The replacement of the domestic L10s with 757s was an inspired move, but I can't help but think it was too little too late. Just my $0.02.

User currently offlinePHX Flyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 542 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 8939 times:

After all these years, I think it's time to mellow out a bit with regard to Icahn. The man isn't a monster, he is actually a great philanthropist, and he was also very proud of his ownership of TWA.Financial advisors always tell you not to be emotional in your investment decisions. I think TWA may have been the one investment, where Icahn had gotten emotional, and he was a proud airline owner. It probably explains why he was looking to buy it back, when TWA was nearing the end. I am little bit provocative now, but would say TWA might still be around, if the unions back then had been more open to and supportive of his plan to restructure the airline. The pilot salary reform at Delta in the late 1990s was far mor radical than anything Icahn had ever proposed, and while I appreciate the service that flight attendants provide, I think, it was absurd that they were making far more money than teachers back then, with less than a month of vocational training invested in their career.

It was not Icahn, who destroyed TWA, It was the Trans World Corporation first, and then the unions, who failed to adapt to the challenges that came with deregulation.


User currently offlineCIDFlyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2271 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 8926 times:

I do believe they would be around in some form today, maybe not as TWA, but I could have seen them merged into the current USAirways. A think a three way merger of US/TWA/HP would have probably happened. US would have its midwest hub in STL I think US was at one time interested in TWA, as was AirTran, what scared them away was the financials. STL probably would still be a major hub today, US would have had a pretty balanced map with PHX for the west, STL for the midwest, CLT for the southeast and PHL for northeast. Just my two cents...always fun to think of the what ifs.

User currently offlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2122 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 8863 times:

Quoting PHX Flyer (Reply 5):
After all these years, I think it's time to mellow out a bit with regard to Icahn. The man isn't a monster, he is actually a great philanthropist, and he was also very proud of his ownership of TWA.Financial advisors always tell you not to be emotional in your investment decisions.

Its also important to recognize that Ichan gain control because TWA was in such terrible financial straits. He didn't take a hugely profitable airline and run it into the ground, although he did significantly gimp the airline for the future.


User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5562 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8657 times:

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 4):
The early 80s were critical: while AA had retired the 707 in late 1981, TW soldiered on with it until 1983.

While the rest of your post makes sense, this does not. 2 extra years of flying an airplane compared to a competitor, by itself, is not a sign of weakness.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlineDL_Mech From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 1926 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8592 times:

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 8):
While the rest of your post makes sense, this does not. 2 extra years of flying an airplane compared to a competitor, by itself, is not a sign of weakness.

I think there is more to this. While TWA replaced some 707s with 762s, it did not replace them with lower cost, used 727s from BN like AA did.



This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
User currently offlineCF-CPI From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 1041 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8502 times:

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 8):
2 extra years of flying an airplane compared to a competitor, by itself, is not a sign of weakness.

By itself, I would agree. In an era when a given type is inefficient (second oil crisis had hit in 1979) and relegated to routes which could be handled by 727s (in 1980/81) or 757s (beginning January 1983), it was a serious weakness.


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6815 posts, RR: 46
Reply 11, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 8471 times:

TWA would definitely be long gone by now regardless of Icahn. It was not strong enough, and would not have survived the post-9/11 slump. If AA had not swallowed it some other carrier would have. And I would not be surprised if Icahn in fact did not prolong its life, rather than shorten it.


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineMasseyBrown From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 5363 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 8312 times:

Could they have survived? I don't think we can say more than 'maybe'.

I always faulted TWA management for not finding some way to get out of Icahn's clutches. AA did it. Why couldn't TWA have reorganized itself similarly on their own years prior to the merger? The NW leveraged buy-out comes to mind. Admittedly the debt incurred in that buy-out hamstrung NW for years, but they made it. I think a more inventive, risk-taking TWA could have found a way, too.



I love long German words like 'Freundschaftsbezeigungen'.
User currently offlinecommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11409 posts, RR: 62
Reply 13, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 8278 times:

I think the short answer to the question is a fairly definitive "no." Not only was TWA in such a weakened financial state - yes, before Icahn, and also definitely after - that it was struggling to survive to begin with, but after 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, SARS, bankruptcies, etc., I find it very difficult to imagine how TWA could ever possibly have survived this long. Put another way: if venerable brands and airlines far larger and far stronger than TWA was then, such as Continental, Northwest and even USAirways, no longer or soon no longer will exist, I see now conceivable way TWA would have survived - as a brand, let alone a company.

If I remember correctly - and incredibly, while it seems like yesterday it was over 13 years ago - at the time of the AA acquisition, I believe it was said that at that point TWA was down to only a few weeks worth of cash remaining. And as we all know, the world only got far more challenging after January 2001 when the takeover occurred.

[Edited 2014-03-08 10:08:56]

User currently online802flyguy From United States of America, joined May 2012, 163 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 8217 times:

Quoting PHX Flyer (Reply 5):
After all these years, I think it's time to mellow out a bit with regard to Icahn. The man isn't a monster, he is actually a great philanthropist, and he was also very proud of his ownership of TWA..

Seriously? I suppose that you probably think Lorenzo wasn't such a bad fellow after all, either. Icahn's Karabu deal did far more damage to TWA than those greedy unions...


User currently offlinePHX Flyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 542 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 8204 times:

Quoting MasseyBrown (Reply 12):
I always faulted TWA management for not finding some way to get out of Icahn's clutches.

Karabu was not what brought TWA down. The final crucial mistakes were made during the second bankruptcy (during which TWA could have negotiated term changes, but didn't) and shortly thereafter. One major factor that contributed to the demise of TWA was the excessive aircraft leasing rates. TWA paid leasing rates for 30-year-old DC-9s that were equal or higher than what ompetitors paid for new planes, while at the same time they were stuck with an outdated fleet with the highest CASM in the industry. Then came the 747 disaster in 1996 (and no, I am not talking about TW800 here), which led to Erickson getting canned. From that point on, the TWA owners, which btw were for the most part all creditors, had come to the conclusion that TWA was a lemon. They installed Gitner, who's sole purpose was to sell the airline to the highest bidder. They squeezed the remaining juice out of the airline and by 2000, they were ready to throw the peel away.


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6815 posts, RR: 46
Reply 16, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 7940 times:

Quoting 802flyguy (Reply 14):
Quoting PHX Flyer (Reply 5):
After all these years, I think it's time to mellow out a bit with regard to Icahn. The man isn't a monster, he is actually a great philanthropist, and he was also very proud of his ownership of TWA..

Seriously? I suppose that you probably think Lorenzo wasn't such a bad fellow after all, either. Icahn's Karabu deal did far more damage to TWA than those greedy unions...

I have learned that no matter how villainous a person is portrayed, they almost all are justified in their actions in their own eyes. And just as no man is totally good (except for Jesus Christ), no man is totally evil. We like to have villains, and we like to blame all bad things on them. But reality is seldom that simple. Everybody wants to make money, and we tend to demonize those that place too high a priority on it, especially when we perceive that they are too indifferent to those that may be hurt by their actions. But it is all a matter of degree, and we cannot see into the soul of another person. Lorenzo and Icahn have been widely vilified, and from what I know they deserve some of it, but I do not doubt that they had their good points as well. But most people are not interested in hearing about them. But I totally reject that they were completely responsible for the demise of the airlines under their control. All three of them were in trouble to begin with, and would likely have failed under any but the most brilliant leadership. And Continental did survive Lorenzo.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineshuttle9juliet From UK - Scotland, joined Jul 2010, 192 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7759 times:

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 4):
Quoting SEPilot (Reply 11):

I flew my first 767 in to T7 in 1994 and was in awe of 2 TWA 747 100s and L10.11s and EI-CAL 767 parked up.
Amazing site.
Flew "Sir simon Rattle" to GLA and BHX on 15th July 96 two days before that horrible night.
I guess at JFK now i treat JetBlue as TWA now?


User currently offlinePHX Flyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 542 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7744 times:

Quoting 802flyguy (Reply 14):
I suppose that you probably think Lorenzo wasn't such a bad fellow after all, either.

I would advise against such assumptions. I haven't said a word about Lorenzo. Go to http://www.philanthropicpeople.com . You'll find that Carl Icahn finances three charitable foundations and gave $200 million dollars last year alone to Mount Sinai Medical School. To put this in perspective that's twice the money the State of Arizona appropriated for the U of A Health Science Center in 2013. In contrast, Francisco Lorenzo is not even listed on that site.


User currently offlineshuttle9juliet From UK - Scotland, joined Jul 2010, 192 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7732 times:

Sorry missing the point, I think TWA , if Flt 800 had not happened then yes maybe, but you had the whole 911 debacle which could well have crippled them, and others.
Also think they would have shrunk to a domestic only carrier and got their fleet of Airbus shorthaul if they got past 911.
I am sure if they made it that far they would have been acquired by U.S Airways or America West or the likes
Who knows?


User currently offlineBHMNONREV From Australia, joined Aug 2003, 1368 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (4 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 7614 times:

Quoting PHX Flyer (Reply 5):
It was not Icahn, who destroyed TWA, It was the Trans World Corporation first, and then the unions, who failed to adapt to the challenges that came with deregulation.

This. TWA was spiralling out of control for years well before Icahn hit the scene, they were on life support then. Carl just happened to be the one to pull the plug.

Quoting commavia (Reply 13):
If I remember correctly - and incredibly, while it seems like yesterday it was over 13 years ago - at the time of the AA acquisition, I believe it was said that at that point TWA was down to only a few weeks worth of cash remaining. And as we all know, the world only got far more challenging after January 2001 when the takeover occurred.

According to my late father who was ex-TW/AA for 37+ years, they were days away from ceasing operations. AA came in and kept it afloat a bit longer..


User currently offlinePyrex From Portugal, joined Aug 2005, 3928 posts, RR: 28
Reply 21, posted (4 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 7366 times:

Quoting PHX Flyer (Reply 18):

To be fair, Carl Icahn is way, way richer than Frank Lorenzo, and just because someone doesn't make a spectacle out of their charitable giving does not mean they don't do any...



Read this very carefully, I shall write this only once!
User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8273 posts, RR: 7
Reply 22, posted (4 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 7354 times:
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For all the " hell " Icahn is blamed for, the other bidder was called by Eastern unions as the " pilager of the american dream", Frank Lorenzo. In 1984 when Icahn purchased TWA, Texas Air was the competing offer. Eastern was destroyed by Lorenzo, so TWA probably would have been the same. Just some history for thought. Now if AA had purchased Pan AM in 1988 would United have purchased TWA.

User currently offlineBN727227Ultra From United States of America, joined Jan 2014, 38 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 7240 times:

Well, safe to say that TW would have gone BK again, for starters.

Then, if EA and BN couldn't survive, it's even money at best that TW could have avoided liquidation--and EA and BN had better hubs.


User currently offlineTW870 From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 221 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6414 times:
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Yes and no.

Most importantly, TWA was very, very slow at building a strategy to respond to deregulation. TWA had great assets, and could have built a domestic network to feed its treaty-protected international rights. But it would have to have built a strong midwestern hub - and I explicitly mean it would have to have built an ORD hub - to really make those assets work. Remember, ORD was TW's biggest station in 1975. STL and PIT were brutally hit by the industrial crisis of the late 1970s, and would not have worked as core domestic hubs. It would have been difficult, but TW would have had to have taken on AA at ORD in a post deregulation context to truly be a long-term success story.

With that being said, Icahn took an airline with immense strategic challenge and pillaged it. In the late 1980s the company way paying $400 million a year in interest on the junk bonds from the 1985 LBO and the 1988 privatization - and that is before the added revenue drain of Karabu. The 1990s were immensely robust economic years, and TWA may have been able to leverage its remaining assets (i.e. those before Icahn sold away the LHR operation) to improve its competitive position vis-a-vis the other majors. But Icahn actively prevented that from happening.


25 F9Animal : Carl Icahn killed TWA. He was getting 40% off TWA tickets, and lowestfare.com was getting a commission on top of that! The Karabu contract made it imp
26 seatback : Lack of vision is really what killed TWA. What made the legacies (AA, UA, NW, DL, CO, US) successful is that they saw potential markets where they co
27 MasseyBrown : Karabu killed their business in NYC and the company could not support its overhead on a one-hub (STL) operation without drastic surgery - which the m
28 PHX Flyer : Never let the truth stand in the way of a strong conviction ...
29 Post contains links MasseyBrown : This is a good summary of the Karabu arrangement. It demonstrably killed TWA's NYC profits. For Those Who Ask, "What Is Karabu?" And TWA (by Acvitale
30 PHX Flyer : I am well familiar with the Karabu agreement. For one, it served to protect - to some exent - the pensions of many TWA employees. Secondly, TWA would
31 questions : While I understand STL is not a major business market, geographically it seems to be a good location to funnel east/west connecting traffic. Is it no
32 brilondon : One man could not have such an impact on the fortunes of such a large airline. The way it was handled could have been better but TWA like PA was a di
33 seatback : Actually, STL is a nice sized business market (like CVG), but it isn't big enough. It's in the perfect geographic spot for a hub for N/W/S/E traffic
34 SpaceshipDC10 : It doesn't excuse them, but they were desperate. Both Pan Am and TWA were from another world, real dinosaurs. In a way they were like the Penn Centra
35 ltbewr : Probably not. There was no way they could have survived the cutthroat pricing by new, non-union airlines with more efficient a/c, with not only USA do
36 Ldriver : I would speculate the only way TWA could have survived would be only as a brand name, had they been bought by, say, an airline like Northwest. In that
37 WA707atMSP : Even before deregulation, TWA was already being squeezed out of ORD by UA and AA. In 1977, TWA switched from 4x day L-1011s on ORD-LAX to 2x day 707
38 milesrich : TWA was a weak airline at the beginning of Deregulation. They had good years after Hughes under Tillinghaust but after that were always a weak link.
39 ckfred : I remember reading somewhere that senior managers tried to convince Icahn to replace various airplanes (older 747s, L-1011s, 727s, and DC-9s) with new
40 SpaceshipDC10 : TW got a fleet of 20 MD-80s between 1983 and 1985. However I don't know the kind of lease agreement they had for those. Then, in 1986, they got four
41 sfotraveler : I think the answer is if the airline had sound and aggressive management it would still be around. In the mid-80s the airline had its problems but it
42 questions : Which airline was known for better inflight service, TWA or Pan Am?
43 ThePinnacleKid : You know the best part of this whole sad sad story? A TWA livery plane will soon enough be gracing the skies at the newAmerican.... I'm so glad they'r
44 BN727227Ultra : I won't be happy until I see Ozark...(three swallows will get you there!)
45 MD80 : Interesting! This makes me wonder because the majority of airlines in the USA and Europe retained the mentioned aircraft throughout the 1980s and int
46 milesrich : TWA was retiring their last 707s at the time the MD-80's were delivered. McDD was having trouble selling MD-82's, and therefore, entered into a very
47 Post contains images MD80 : These „fly-before-buy-deals“ were IMO an interesting tool to stimulate sales of the MD-80 after most of the initial deliveries were fulfilled. Mo
48 jetwet1 : Back to the original question, "Would TWA Still Exist If It Hadn't Been For Ichan?" Probably not, Ichan was the white night for TWA, nobody wanted Lor
49 SpaceshipDC10 : I have indeed read and heard that service wise, TWA was better than PA. I believe if Pan Am is most remembered for it's because of its audacity durin
50 jfk777 : Even though in many peoples mind TWA and PA were similar, they were very different. TWA was a one ocean airline, to them Australia might as well have
51 Post contains links and images uberflieger : In 1985 TWA was losing money at a rate of $1,000,000 a day Fortune in 1986 featured Carl Icahn and an in depth analysis of his TWA investment http://
52 F9Animal : Isn't it awesome?!! I am excited to see this bird when it comes out. I miss TWA!
53 UA444 : AA only bought 260 MD-80s. The 300+ was from after the TWA ones entered the fleet. Still an impressive number nonetheless. It's obvious that those th
54 milesrich : The one thing that has been left out of this discussion is that Odyssy Partners identified in the early 80's that TWA was worth more as parts than as
55 PanHAM : Even though both had the same Problems, the service of TWA was a notch or two better than PanAM. But it was really sad to watch them going down the d
56 Post contains images TrijetsRMissed : In regards to the TW lease agreement: McDonnell Douglas agreed to lease 20 MD-82s to TW with a minimal obligation for five years, at favorable numbers
57 CF-CPI : I have heard that PA was hit-or-miss. The downside was a tendency to act superior, and in a supercilious fashion, to both passengers and employees of
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