Lots of good questions, here are some facts that I can recall from that horrible summer....
First off, Flight 800 was not scheduled into Athens. The flight was to operate nonstop to CDG
, then continue on to Rome/FCO
. That leg to Rome was not a normally scheduled hop, it was done that night because there was a broken 747 already in Paris with an engine change. 800 was to continue to Rome in order to fly one of the 2 flights back to JFK
. At that time we had two daily flights from JFK
, and the second one, Flight 848, was cancelled on the night of 800, and the crew deadheaded on 800. The plan was for them to work the flight CDG
and layover. The 747 already in Paris was fixed by the time morning rolled around, and TWA operated flight 801 CDG
, even though the inbound aircraft never "arrived".
incidentally, Flight 881, ATH
made an unscheduled stop in Rome the morning of July 18, 1996, in order to pick up passengers stranded in Rome since the second aircraft never arrived.
Athens service continued with daily 747s until January of 1997, when it went to 3 or 4 times per week.
The 747 was not on its way out when Flight 800 was lost, they had in fact acquired 4 additional 747s for the summer schedule... of which zero out of 4 were ready to go in time. For that reason, TWA operated JFK
, and STL
with Tower Air and World Airways respectively, in their own paint schemes.
When the 4 "old" 747s did arrive... they were in a hodgepodge of TWA colors and interiors, and 3 of them did not have working video systems. They were from 4 different operators, (Air France, KLM, America West, Continental) and proved to be maintenance nightmares. Only one was completely in TWA paint, one was all white with a red TWA on the tail, etc. They did not last long, and were drawn down quickly after the summer travel season ended.
I sure do miss seeing those big red TWA tails.........