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Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 7:28 am

I have a few questions about this airline:
1. Was it a discount airline?
2. Why did it fail?
3. What happened to it?
4. Did it ever fly internationaly as it's name implies?
Thank you in advance.
DC-10's Forever
"Traveling light is the only way to fly" - Eric Clapton
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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 7:36 am

Folow this link for more info on TI.

Today's Continental Airlines is TI reincarnated. This is why CO is headquartered in Houston.

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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 7:51 am

After deregulation, Texas International was a discount airline. I only flew them a couple of times, once from DFW-STL and once from DFW-AUS. I don't remember there being a first class section - I think it was all coach. I remember them advertising Peanut Fares.

I know it was failing at one time in the early 70's but I'm not sure if it was failing towards the end. I think Frank Lorenzo just wanted to merge it into Continental to make Continental bigger. I could be wrong, though.

I think the only international flights they had were to a couple of cities in Mexico.

There's a website maintained by a former TI flight attendant at


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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 7:52 am

Today's Continental Airlines is TI reincarnated. This is why CO is headquartered in Houston.

Well, this is not quite accurate. TI was never HQ'd in Houston and the old TI was more like Southwest, not like the modern day Continental.

1. yes, it was a discount airline. All Y service, all DC-9s.

2. It didn't fail. It actually bought Continental, but chose to use the CO name instead of its own.

3. It became part of airlines that all merged into CO. Up until a few years ago you could still fly on ex-TI DC-9s in the CO fleet. CO's strong presence at MSY, IAH, and elsewhere in Texas is due in large part to the old TI route structure.

4. It flew nonstop to CUN from IAH, I think it served MEX and other Mexican cities as well.

TI's motto used to be "We believe man was meant to fly for peanuts." They'd show flying peanuts in their ads and commercials. They had a hub at DFW and 5 gates at terminal A at IAH. Their specialty, obviously, was service to, from, and within Texas. Very much like the early Southwest.

Their strength coincided with the oil boom of the late 1970s, so they served a lot of cities in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, etc... They also flew to Cancun and other cities in Mexico. Their predecessor was Trans Texas - do a search on for pictures of this earlier airline.

TI became eventually wrapped up in the whole Frank Lorenzo situation, his holding company being Texas Air, which went on to have interests in the current or former assets of TI, CO, PeopleExpress, (old) Frontier, New York Air, Eastern, and others.

From a personal note: I remember flying on the TI plane entitled "City of Lake Charles": this should give you an idea about its oil-related route structure. They were an OK airline but had something of a reputation for being cheap and a little dirty.

kind regards,

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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 8:09 am

The accuracy of that article on the history of Texas Air leaves just a little bit to be desired; the Trump Shuttle had *nothing* to do with New York Air; rather, the Trump Shuttle was the Eastern Shuttle. SAS had nothing to do with Eastern; they made an investment in Continental. And Continental still owns Air Micronesia.

New York Air (as well as PeoplExpress and Frontier) were amalgamated into Continental; I still remember the "Continental's New York Air" interim livery.
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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 9:43 am

Hi Rogue,

Everything that you stated is correct, except for one thing. I am 99% certain that TI'S head office was indeed in Houston. All of the literature related to TI placed it's HQ's in Houston. If I remember correctly TI's HQs in Houston were located off of JFK Blvd at IAH. BTW, if it were not based in Houston, then where ?

As a college student in the very late 70s and early 80s, I practically live on TI's '9s' traveling from IAH/HOU to DFW, AUS, SAT, ELP, MSY,ect (those 'peanuts fares' beat the hell out of traveling by Greyhound!).


"Show me the Braniffs"
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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 10:06 am

You both are correct...I think. TI had their dispatch office right there at HOU (near their hanger), and I presume the general office was close-by (as they usually are to their dispatch offices).

TI also had facilities at IAH, including a simulator, but I'm pretty sure the general office and dispatch office moved from HOU straight to the American General Building (concurrent with all the Continental stuff) on Allen Parkway, west of downtown Houston, without ever going to IAH, per se. They eventually left there for another building in downtown Houston.. (Two Shell?)
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 10:23 am

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Texas International was losing a lot of money. It was a stodgy airline that, like Allegheny and the other Local Service airlines, was perceived as a "puddle jumper" (although it did operate DC9s to places like Roswell, New Mexico and Hot Springs, Arkansas.

As was mentioned earlier, deregulation coincided with the Texas oil boom in the late 1970s and Texas International started doing very well. With the government's permission, it dropped service to small cities like Lufkin and Big Spring. Free to set its own fares, it converted its aircraft to all Y-class and started charging bargain basement-style fares. It built its route network around IAH and DFW (after the Continental merger, the DFW hub was abandoned and most of its Terminal 2E gates were given to American.)

I have a Texas International timetable from 1973 and one from 1980, and the difference is astounding. Where in 1973 TI serves nine states (TX, LA, AR, NM, TN, MS, CO, CA, UT) and dozens of tiny cities (Clovis, New Mexico; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Longview, Texas), in 1980 it is a real powerhouse with a strong east-west network across the southern states. Texas International was also one of the first airlines to tap into the potential of Baltimore/Washington International Airport with service from IAH and DFW. By 1980 it was serving BWI, LAX, SLC, TPA, MIA, and a slew of Mexican resort destinations.

What I find interesting is that it was actually Texas International that bought Continental, instead of the other way around. It was decided by Frank Lorenzo that the Continental name was more recognizable nationwide, and thus it was retained. At the time the merger was a great idea, as CO and TI overlapped on many routes (Continental had a sizeable Texas network throughout the 1970s), and a merger helped it solidify its flank against the failing Braniff and the booming Southwest.

If you haven't figured it out, in addition to being an aviation nut in general, I'm also a Texas airline history buff.  Smile
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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 11:04 am

"The accuracy of that article on the history of Texas Air leaves just a little bit to be desired; the Trump Shuttle had *nothing* to do with New York Air; rather, the Trump Shuttle was the Eastern Shuttle. "

Trump Shuttle wasn't the Eastern Shuttle. Donald sold his airline when he had financial problems and Eastern Bought it. They bought it when Frank Borman was CEO of Eastern. They put some 727-100QC on that route (Quick Change) They were flying pax during the day and cargo at night.

"New York Air (as well as PeoplExpress and Frontier) were amalgamated into Continental; I still remember the "Continental's New York Air" interim livery. "

Don Burr ex Texas International Director was fed up with Lorenzo's plans for the future. They had argued about some small stupid thing. (Dont remember right now what was the problem). So he just left Texas Intl and came to Newark to start with another Texas Intl employees new discount airline. 3 of them were running People Express and they were doing pretty well untill Frank got pissed and he created New York Air. New York Air was created just to put People Express out of business. Guess what? They put People Express out of business.

Frank Lorenzo killed many many airlines. He did it for money, you cant blame him.


BWIADCA - Nikon D100
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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 11:54 am

One other thing that has not been mentioned above; the "war chest" with which Texas International purchased Continental was amassed, in large measure, when TI took a run at buying TWA (really!), and had their shares bought back by TWA at a premium.

Amazing, really, that people still think TI failed. If that's failure, well...
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 12:17 pm

Exerpt from T A Heppenheimer's Turbulent Skies:

.....(Frank Lorenzo)His early career introduced him to Chase Manhattan Bank, which was a principal creditor of Texas International Airlines. In 1971, with that carrier close to bankruptcy, Lorenzo went down to Houston to take control.
Although TIA by then was flying DC-9s, it was only a few years removed from the DC-3, and people still called it Tree Top Airlines. The "International" in its name reflected a weekly run to Veracruz and Tampico. However, its real problems stemmed from years of heavy losses. Lorenzo started by dropping service to the likes of Fort Polk, Louisiana and Jonesboro, Arkansas. He put new resources into such winning routes as Houston-Dallas and Denver-New Orleans.
.......Working with his protege, Donald Burr, Lorenzo then went on to lead his airline through five years of prosperity. The "Peanuts" fares helped, and offered a significant prelude to deregulation by demonstrating that an airline could make more money with lower ticket prices. Indeed, from 1972 through 1979, TIA's revenues increased fourfold and its profits turned strongly upward. After introducing its cute rate "Peanut Fares", profits rose from $2.5 million in 1976 to $41 million by 1979. Lorenzo and TIA soon were flying high on Wall Street. Two offerings of securities in 1978 raised a total of $60 million, and with that, Lorenzo was ready to make his own move.

And we know what those moves eventually were. Flush with cash from the TWA deal and from Wall Street, TI went buying.

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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 2:14 pm

Just a slight correction from previous posts, TI never flew scheduled MSY-DEN and the only FL cities they flew from were JAX,FLL and PNS. I could talk TI all day as it is one of my all time favorites. Mexico service was to ZIH/ZLO/PVR/GDL/MEX/MTY/TAM/VER/MID/CUN/CZM.
nwa man
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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 2:17 pm

Makes sense that after their takeover they kept the name "Continental", Texas International sounds a bit regionalistic and restrictive.

Create your own luck.
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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 2:20 pm

Texas International was based in Houston. I have some of their timetables and even have the final TI timetable that also shows the Continental flights.

The Trump Shuttle was indeed the previous EA shuttle.
When EA sold the shuttle to Trump 20 agents were selected from Miami reservations to go open the Trump Shuttle's original reservations office. It was located on the third floor of the former System One building at the Doral area of Miami. Those agents were "on loan" to Trump for a few months after which they were given the option of returning to their posts at EA or becoming employees of Trump.
PRINAIR - Puerto Rico International Airlines
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RE: Texas International

Thu Apr 11, 2002 3:39 pm

One more thing about the "war chest". TI was also bidding for National Airlines and sold a lot of cheap shares of that company on the market.

After that, Pan Am entered the scene and started to bid for National Airlines as well. They urgently wanted a national network and therefore, they were willing to pay a real high price. The merger took place arround 1980.

They won the bidding and Lorenzo sold all his National-shares to Pan Am with a real huge profit! That enabled him to target even larger companies (CO...)

About Lindy's post:
Don Burr left TI because Frank Lorenzo didn't like Don's "People Plan" with which he wanted to treat the staff better. And as we know, that was never a goal for Franks in business...

Surely, New York Air had a impact on People Express. But People Express did also have major "home made" problems. Their organisation was not very suitable for such a large and fast growing airline as it was in the late years. Therefore, they had a lot of problems and customers were running away because of all that troubles they were experiensing when they tried to travel with People Express. Don Burr had to decide whether he should invest a high sum into computer reservation systems and other stuff to get back control. But as the airline was making losses and was almost out of money (if I remember correctly) he decided to sell the airline to his rival and former friend Lorenzo. Of course, Lorenzo was too happy that he could show Burr "how the business works"...


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