UAL#1fan
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Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:50 am

I've always read that the gradual fall of TWA from major international airline to American merger fodder began as a result of deregulation. But how exactly did de-reg hurt TWA? In the 1970s, unlike Pan Am, they had a pretty good domestic feeder network in addition to its extensive international coverage. Couldn't TWA have just expanded a little bit more domestically in the 1980s to weather the post-deregulation storm? From the looks of their routes and financial situation of the late 1970s, it appeared that TWA could survive and thrive after deregulation was passed.
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USPIT10L
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:11 am

TWA had a very linear route network in the 1970s. They did not develop what we now know as hubs. They flew a very point-to-point route structure. Also, because of the increase in jet fuel and increased foreign competition on international, TWA, like Pan Am, did not fare well financially in the 1970s. In fact, TW gave up round-the-world authority in 1975 for PA's routes to Paris, among other things. They sold off 747s to meet payroll. TWA was part of a holding company, the Trans World Corporation, that also owned hotels and restaurants, among others things. In 1983, TW Corporation split Trans World Airlines, PARS and all other things related to TWA into its own company. It was ripe for a takeover. In the end, it was either Frank Lorenzo or Carl Icahn. Knowing what Lorenzo did to CO (and was about to do to EA), TWA's stockholders chose Icahn, who took the company private in 1988, therefore making it theoretically impossible to make money. After that, the most profitable assets were sold, most notably the LHR slots to AA in 1991 for about $200 million dollars. Also, TWA's historically large presence at ORD was sold off to AA in 1992. TWA flew to MDW only for about six months, and then was given token slots to return to ORD. After the assets were sold, TWA's chances of survival were slim at best. Icahn also moved TWA's headquarters from New York City to his own complex in Mount Kisko, NY. The added pressures of fuel costs drove TWA into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992, and then and only then, was Icahn forced out. After that, TWA's employees got 40% of the company's stock upon emergence from Chapter 11. The creditors got the remaining 60%. The company's headquarters was moved back to St. Louis. But Icahn had one other trick up his sleeve. The Karabu ticketing agreement allowed Icahn to buy TWA tickets for $0.55 on the dollar, and then sell it to wholesalers to market the seats. TWA became a poor man's discount airline, with virtually no pricing power on their own routes. The only routes exempt from the Karabu agreement were new ones started by TWA after a certain point in time. TWA did not make money from 1988 until the end. The crash of TW 800 did not do much to alter TWA's final outcome, but it did ruin the best year TWA had financially after the company went private and filed for Chapter 11. TWA tried to build a new airline with the purchase of Boeing 717s in 1999, and had also placed an order for Airbus A318/A319/A320 equipment as well, to replace the aging fleet they were using. Alas, the continued pressures of competition, fuel prices and bad luck almost cost TWA. It did make it to it's 75th birthday, July 12th, 2000. Their operational efforts from 1997-2000 were among the best, so any morale boost was a good one, but again, TWA was not able to make money. On January 10, 2001, TWA announced it would go into bankruptcy again and would not be coming back. It would be acquired by American Airlines. On December 2, 2001, TWA finally said goodbye.

Being from PIT, TW has always had a significant place in my heart. It's the first airline I applied to, and it was the dominant carrier here for years, along with UA (until 1983-1985) and US. They had 75 flights a day here in 1975, along with a reservation center in downtown PIT (Chatham Center), which closed in 1982. I got most of my info from a video that was produced not long after AA purchased TW's assets.

[Edited 2006-04-06 01:16:37]
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vegasplanes
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:15 am

Quoting UAL#1fan (Thread starter):
Couldn't TWA have just expanded a little bit more domestically in the 1980s to weather the post-deregulation storm? From the looks of their routes and financial situation of the late 1970s, it appeared that TWA could survive and thrive after deregulation was passed.

TWA did expand domesitcally after de-reg., see Ozark acquisition to boost STL into then mega-hub for TWA. The mgmt. in the early 80's did not fare well, AA and UA expanding, not enough capital, etc. The downfall acclerated when Frank Lorenzo tried to buy the airline, the unions/employees embraced Carl Ichon instead. Somewhere along the line, 1986 or so, there was a strike that plauged the airline, along with the heavy debt-load incurred by Ichon's acquisition of the majority of the company. The downward spirial continued, LHR routes sold to AA in 1990/91 with the first BK filing. They tried in the 90's to revive the carrier. Ichon's "Caribu" agreement really killed the yields in the time period until Caribu was done. Along with the Flight 800 accident, TWA was pretty well done in, if AA hadn't bought them, 9/11 would have been the final nail in the coffin.
 
steeler83
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:19 am

USPIT, I have to say I am rather impressed with what you know about TW. I do have this one question. If dereg was to have virtually no impact on the airline, and if the ATC thing back in the 1970s didn't happen which put a damper on their operations out of PIT, would they have established a sizeable hub and would they have been able to compete with US at the time if that was to happen?
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lincoln
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:24 am

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 1):
along with a reservation center in downtown PIT (Chatham Center),

Wow... Where were they in Chatham Center? We have a client there, and it's probably one of the few buildings outside of Cleveland that I know.

Lincoln
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WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:24 am

Good afternoon, UAL#1fan;

Quoting UAL#1fan (Thread starter):
Couldn't TWA have just expanded a little bit more domestically in the 1980s to weather the post-deregulation storm?

Expansion wasn't the problem, we had one of the best route systems of all the airlines. Things that brought us down pre-Icahn was 1) TW Corp. spinning us off and not letting us keep our profit from that year or the years before. 2) A mainly widebody fleet on too many point-to-point routes. 3) Spending too much time pursuing the vacationing passengers instead of focusing on the premium international passenger.

Quoting UAL#1fan (Thread starter):
From the looks of their routes and financial situation of the late 1970s, it appeared that TWA could survive and thrive after deregulation was passed

After Icahn took control and saddling the company with millions of dollars of junk bonds, we could have still made money, IF we didn't take over Ozark and being saddling with more aging planes like the DC-9's, if Icahn didn't take the company private for his own looting. If we had spent some money upgrading our facilities and our fleet. Also, once we sold the LHR routes, the European network lost most of its luster. The two final nails in the coffin were TWA800, and the Karabu ticketing deal.
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USPIT10L
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:26 am

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 3):
USPIT, I have to say I am rather impressed with what you know about TW. I do have this one question. If dereg was to have virtually no impact on the airline, and if the ATC thing back in the 1970s didn't happen which put a damper on their operations out of PIT, would they have established a sizeable hub and would they have been able to compete with US at the time if that was to happen?

Thanks. Hard to say, I actually don't have any TWA schedules from that era, but I can tell you that most of the cities TWA went to were the same as AL (USAir) had at the time. TW served CMH, DAY, IND, LAX, SFO, STL, JFK, ORD, PHL and BDL in the 70s. I did read the post about PIT-LGW on TWA the summer I was born in 1981. But knowing USAir's dramatic rise, TW probably still would've thrown in the towel, especially without a new facility. PIT was getting very, very crowded by 1983, Southeast Dock or not. TWA had all the gates in the West Dock (46-56) in the late 70s, UA had most of the gates in the East Dock (1-12), and just about everyone else was in the South Dock (AA, EA, and AL). Hopefully I'll be able to get some older timetables in the future and be able to get more info that way.

oldterminals.topcities.com is a great site to use if you're looking for info on old airports. That's how I got specific gate info on PIT in the 70s.
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USPIT10L
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:27 am

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 4):
Wow... Where were they in Chatham Center? We have a client there, and it's probably one of the few buildings outside of Cleveland that I know.

Where in Chatham Center I'm not sure, but Boyd School (my alma mater) was located there as well for many years.
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steeler83
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:30 am

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 6):
oldterminals.topcities.com is a great site to use if you're looking for info on old airports. That's how I got specific gate info on PIT in the 70s.

You know what, I have accessed that site myself. Some, if not all, of the pics that are on there are actually on this forum. There are several pics of US's planes from various times in the 80s with the A.net think in the lower right-hand corner of the pic. It was basically Allegheny Airlines (I guess that's why US was AL back then) and TW...
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USPIT10L
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:34 am

Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 8):
I guess that's why US was AL back then

Yes, the code for USAir wasn't changed to US until October 1, 1988. I have a note from the guy that got the code changed. He used to work in reservations and then management with USAir. One of my teachers used to work with him.
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moman
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:48 am

In it's hometown of St. Louis, TWA was plagued by continuous complaining from the residents about old jets and expensive fares. Southwest was welcomed into STL as a savior. It's a 180' change from today. Today everyone in STL is sentimental about TWA and supports AA very nicely. I think they all saw what could have been back in 2003 (which is total demise of hub).
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isitsafenow
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:58 am

Quoting Moman (Reply 10):
and supports AA very nicely

Good topic here with some super quotes from all.
My Q is...if AA is supported so well at STL, why all the "mini-jets"
instead of mainline AA?
I was told by a businessman in STL that his company flys AA but only as a second thought. That's only one point of view but there could be more with the same philosophy.
safe
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AeroWesty
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:06 am

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 1):
TWA had a very linear route network in the 1970s. They did not develop what we now know as hubs.



Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 1):
Also, TWA's historically large presence at ORD was sold off to AA in 1992.

Just a few comments on the above. In the 1970's TWA actually operated two hubs in Missouri, a growing one in St. Louis (which is why they bought Ozark, to strengthen STL), and another scaled-down version in Kansas City. Going back to the prop days, KC was a major stopover for TWA. They also operated a hub of sorts just up the street in Chicago, and another at Kennedy.

Chicago got the axe as a hub, by losing its west coast flights somewhere around 1982. I don't know if the 1992 date was either a typo, or if you were referring to a "selling the slots" event.

If you have access to the stacks at a public library, Barron's had an extensive article a few months before the second bankruptcy that basically stated TWA would have to run at about a 95% load factor just to break even, and gave all the nuts and bolts reasons why there was another bankruptcy forthcoming, which did come a few months later in 1995.

Otherwise, lots of accurate info so far.

Cheers.
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USPIT10L
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:12 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 12):
Just a few comments on the above. In the 1970's TWA actually operated two hubs in Missouri, a growing one in St. Louis (which is why they bought Ozark, to strengthen STL), and another scaled-down version in Kansas City. Going back to the prop days, KC was a major stopover for TWA. They also operated a hub of sorts just up the street in Chicago, and another at Kennedy.

Chicago got the axe as a hub, by losing its west coast flights somewhere around 1982. I don't know if the 1992 date was either a typo, or if you were referring to a "selling the slots" event.

The quote about not developing hubs was from Bill Compton himself in the video I referenced at the end of the post. He was explaining that TWA was not ready for deregulation, as were a lot of airlines at that time. As for the ORD slot sell-off I got it from one of the many threads about TWA and ORD. Thanks for clarifying. Welcome to my RR list.
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moman
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:13 am

Quoting Isitsafenow (Reply 11):

My Q is...if AA is supported so well at STL, why all the "mini-jets"
instead of mainline AA?
I was told by a businessman in STL that his company flys AA but only as a second thought. That's only one point of view but there could be more with the same philosophy.

That's a good question. I once read from an "analyst" that STL had been majorly overserved by air traffic relative to it's size due to the hub and that instead of draconian cuts (plan B @ AA), AA chose to right-size to match supply and demand with a smaller hub feed.

Sure, there are lots of complaints in STL about the mini jets. AACSB moved their headquarters from STL to TPA and quoted the decline in air service as a major factor. But with many people preferring nonstop over connections, a mini-jet is a better deal than flying to ORD or DFW. Plus if the business community in STL doesn't support AA they are slashing their own wrists so to speak and will force AA to go to plan B.
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kkfla737
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:36 am

TWA took a shot at a hub in Denver right after deregulation but it flopped. O'Hare lost hub status around 1982 as mentioned above, but TWA continued to operate some unique routes from Chicago to cities such as Dayton, Columbus, Newark and Kansas City (which also was axed as a hub around 1983 or 1984 just before Eastern moved in) until about 1986. TWA continued to fly from O'Hare to London Heathrow until 1991 and in 1992 sold all of its O'Hare slots to AA and retreated briefly to Midway.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:45 am

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 13):
As for the ORD slot sell-off I got it from one of the many threads about TWA and ORD.

Ahh, ok, I did a bit of research, and there was a slot and gate sell-off that was part of the 1992 bankruptcy, that was a different event than losing the west coast flights in 1982.

From the New York Times on June 24, 1992:

A bankruptcy judge approved a request from United Airlines to postpone until July 9 a hearing on bids for Trans World Airlines assets in Chicago. United is trying to block an earlier agreement by T.W.A. to sell 40 landing slots and three gates at Chicago O'Hare International Airport to American Airlines. That deal was scheduled to close on July 15, but United blocked the move by getting the court to agree that any airline could bid.

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 13):
Welcome to my RR list.

Cheers, thanks  Smile
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WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:59 am

Just out of curiosity, what was the last flight out of LHR?
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AeroWesty
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:03 am

Quoting Kkfla737 (Reply 15):
TWA took a shot at a hub in Denver right after deregulation but it flopped

Boy, you guys are giving my memory a workout tonight.  Wink

7/7/79 nonstops from DEN:

BOS 2x
ORD 5x
CMH 1x
DAY 1x
IND 1x
MCI 2x
JFK 2x
EWR 1x
PIT 2x
STL 3x
SFO 3x
IAD 1x

Note: These flights weren't timed in banks for hubbing status, as the only connecting possibility was ex-SFO.

10/1/80 nonstops from DEN:

ORD 3x
COS 1x
MCI 1x
JFK 1x
PIT 1x
STL 3x
SFO 1x
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AeroWesty
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:22 am

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 17):
Just out of curiosity, what was the last flight out of LHR?

I'm going to take an educated guess on this one and say TW715 to Kennedy. That was the evening flight in the early 90's. I'm welcome to be corrected on that, however.

This site:

http://twdcs.org/history.htm

... says the routes were sold to AA on July 1, 1991, but not the date of the last TWA flight out of LHR.

Reading that page brings back a lot of memories. At the time when the 747 was first introduced, TWA didn't even have a fleet-wide non-smoking section.
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kkfla737
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:23 am

If memory serves me correctly TWA was very much in a battle with AA to be #2 at ORD behind United. Delta and Republic also had large ORD operations but few connecting possibilities in the early 1980s.
 
jetdeltamsy
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:24 am

One huge, enormous mistake was chosing St. Louis as the domestic hub. St. Louis and the surrounding region simply could not support a hub of the size they operated in St. Louis (after the merger with Ozark). They should have gone into Chicago before American got so huge there. United was never a competitor that slashed fares, and both carriers could have existed profitably. Once AA moved into Chicago, there was no room for a third major carrier. St. Louis was handicapped by its lack of runways and modern facilities. Their aircraft became the oldest fleet of any US carrier, their service mediocre and they simply lost their luster as the "airline of the stars".

The fatal blow was, in my opinion, the sale of the London Heathrow rights to American and the subsequent major pulldown of trans-Atlantic service. From that point on, TWA was in a financial tailspin. Oh sure, there were a few profitable quarters under Icahn's "Reign of Terror", but they were profits generated by the sale of assets...like LHR.

I can remember one Christmas Party in New Orleans in where I was talking with Maureen Manget, then the regional marketing manager for TWA, who told me that Icahn was "finally running TWA like a business." I walked away wondering what on Earth she was talking about. He was selling assets and downsizing TWA at an alarming rate. The writing was on the wall...TWA was not long for this world.

And I'd like to say that the "TWA merger" with American wasn't a "merger" at all. It was an asset acquisitoin. TWA would have shutdown within days if the sale had not gone through.

[Edited 2006-04-06 04:41:05]
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isitsafenow
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:29 am

Quoting Jetdeltamsy (Reply 21):
And I'd like to say that the "TWA merger" with American wasn't a "merger" at all. It was an asset acquisitoin. TWA would have shutdown within days if the sale had not gone through.

Anyone in-the-know in the industry will agree 100 percent.
Well put!  wink  safe
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WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:39 am

Quoting Jetdeltamsy (Reply 21):
One huge, enormous mistake was chosing St. Louis as the domestic hub.

I always wonder if LAX wouldve been a good choice, but I dont know.

Quoting Jetdeltamsy (Reply 21):
TWA would have shutdown within days if the sale had not gone through.

3 days to be exact. We had 3 days if AMR didn't help us package the bankruptcy up. We had only a couple of million dollars in the till, and BARELY enough to make it through the entire 3rd day.
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USPIT10L
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:47 am

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 23):
3 days to be exact. We had 3 days if AMR didn't help us package the bankruptcy up. We had only a couple of million dollars in the till, and BARELY enough to make it through the entire 3rd day.

Wow. That's sad. I remember hearing from one of my US Airways buddies in late 2000 that TWA might go bankrupt again. I just kinda shrugged it off and said "Oh well." I remember telling my dad what TW had left to integrated into AA and he was shocked. I told him all that had been already sold and again he was shocked. TWA was a big, big player in PIT for years. Everybody in PIT just figured they were always huge.
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BHMNONREV
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:55 pm

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 5):
Expansion wasn't the problem, we had one of the best route systems of all the airlines. Things that brought us down pre-Icahn was 1) TW Corp. spinning us off and not letting us keep our profit from that year or the years before. 2) A mainly widebody fleet on too many point-to-point routes. 3) Spending too much time pursuing the vacationing passengers instead of focusing on the premium international passenger.

All good points sir, I'll throw in a few others, which were pre-deregulation but did not help once deregulation took place;

1) Oldest fleet of all the existing majors at the time, with a strong reliance on the Boeing 707, in fact being the last US carrier to retire the type in late 1983. This stand-pat attitude plagued TWA thru the 80's and 90's, they always seemed to be two steps behind everyone else when it came to fleet modernization.

2) Piss-poor management. Tillinghast among others were not really fit to run the airline and led them down the wrong path..
 
WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:05 pm

Quoting BHMNONREV (Reply 25):
Tillinghast among others were not really fit to run the airline and led them down the wrong path..

Amen to that BHMNONREV, That is one of the reasons Tillinghast and the TW Corp. Board spun off the airline, but kept everything else like Canteen, Hilton Int'l, and the other companies. In an interview in 1983, Tillinghast was quoted as saying he could not properly run an airline, as it is unlike any other company. Edwin Smart came on after the airline was spun off, and tried his damndest to ignore the new startup airlines popping up everywhere throughout the system. He managed to thwart Frank Lorenzo's first attempt at buying TWA, thank the heavens.
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milesrich
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:48 pm

TWA made the decision to cut back ORD at the beginning of deregulation. They just couldn't compete with UA and AA. The first cut backs were to flights to SFO and LAX. Where UA and AA were operating wide bodies, TW used 707's, some in an all coach configuration. They tried to shift the traffic to STL and MCI but it just didn't work. In the mid 70's TWA served ORD with nonstops to DAY, CMH, DCA, LGA, JFK, EWR, PIT, BOS, PHL, MDT, LHR, ORY, STL, MCI, DEN, SFO, LAX, PHX, TUC, ABQ, ICT, LAS, OKC, TUL. TW dominated the market to most of those cities, except LAX, SFO, NYC, and DEN. TW also decided not to order new aircraft, so when UA and AA were buying 727-200A's to replace their Eights and 707's, TW wasn't. This hurt TW in 1979-1983 when oil prices escalated. TW was also smaller, they didn't have to aircraft to compete on the scale of UA or AA, as their fleet was about half the size, and the 747's were used primarily for coast to coast and trans Atlantic flights. The company was financially strong because of its other assets, Canteen Corporation, Hilton International Hotels, and its International flights, while domestically, they were losing money. The idea to spin off the airline began with an attempt by Odyssy Partners thru Oppenheimer to buy TW and break it up. That was what Icahn eventually did. But let's face it, hauling people is a losing business. No corporation, rail or air, has ever made money over the long haul, transporting people. Sure Jet Blue has had some success, and so has Southwest, but whether we are discussing the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was the king for the first half of the 20th Century, and its competitors or joint operators, or the so called legacy carriers, over time they have lost money carrying passengers. Today, AA's CFO said the company needs more wage cuts. Folks, something is wrong here. What is good about a company that gives it product away at a price so low, that it can't pay its employees a living wage. Very few of us aspire to be servers in restaurants as a long term career. But servers get tips, and at least the percentage has remained the same or even moved from a standard 15% to a an almost standard 20%, and the price of entrees has increased substantially, and yet, restaurants have a life cycle, that is usually not too terribly long. Airlines should be in the service business, but they are strapped so financially, that service is what they cut back first. The business model sucks. The United States needs two or three legacy carriers. Cities like Cedar Rapids or Dayton do not need to be served by five or six carriers. TWA was from a different era, but so was General Motors. Do you remember US Steel?
 
N1120A
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:07 pm

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 1):
TWA's stockholders chose Icahn, who took the company private in 1988, therefore making it theoretically impossible to make money.

Private companies make money all the time, take a look at Spirit. The problem in taking TWA private was that Ichan pocketed nearly $1 billion in cash that should have been used by the airline to invest in the business.

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 1):
. On January 10, 2001, TWA announced it would go into bankruptcy again and would not be coming back. It would be acquired by American Airlines. On December 2, 2001, TWA finally said goodbye.

Actually, TWA was forced into a pre-packaged Chapter 7 by AMR. It was a pretty shady deal and the airline had a pretty fair chance at survival if they had restructured as opposed to liquidating. American wanted a liquidation so they could take what they wanted from TWA (airplanes and the STL hub) and toss what they didn't want (TWA employee seniority, debt).
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WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:13 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 28):
. It was a pretty shady deal and the airline had a pretty fair chance at survival if they had restructured as opposed to liquidating.

If we had filed for Ch. 11, none of us in management thought we had a chance at coming out. Even in Ch.11, if the bankruptcy judge did not let us toss the Karabu contract, we'd be dead anyways. We had what, until 2003 or 2006 until the contract was up? I forgot, its been awhile. You're absolutely right about the ability for private companies to make profits, as long as the owners put money back INTO the company.
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BHMNONREV
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:30 pm

Quoting Milesrich (Reply 27):
In the mid 70's TWA served ORD with nonstops to DAY, CMH, DCA, LGA, JFK, EWR, PIT, BOS, PHL, MDT, LHR, ORY, STL, MCI, DEN, SFO, LAX, PHX, TUC, ABQ, ICT, LAS, OKC, TUL.

I believe your list is accurate, with the exception of STL. TW did not serve ORD-STL until after deregulation, IIRC. During the time period of the mid-70's AA, DL and OZ were the carriers in the market.

I do remember non-revving on a LHR-ORD-STL run with TW in Novemeber 1980. If my sorry memory serves me correctly, I believe TW started ORD-STL sometime during that same year...
 
N1120A
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:37 pm

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 29):
If we had filed for Ch. 11, none of us in management thought we had a chance at coming out. Even in Ch.11, if the bankruptcy judge did not let us toss the Karabu contract, we'd be dead anyways.

Karabu would have been one of the first things tossed. Besides, Ichan was most likely unsecured in the deal, so he would have been last in line for compensation. A 95% break even load factor is not too horrible considering the over 100% BELF's of late. A thorough restructuring would have dropped that even lower and given TWA a real shot.

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 29):
You're absolutely right about the ability for private companies to make profits, as long as the owners put money back INTO the company.

In fact, private companies can often be more creative in how they run themselves because they don't have to answer to public stockholders.
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DETA737
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:47 pm

I don't really think it was deregulation that killed TWA so much as the bad luck of having poor management. When deregulation came about in 1978, TWA was actually poised to do quite well if there had been better management (ie no Trans World Corp, Icahn, etc). It was the fourth largest airline in the US in terms of passangers carried and seventh largest in the world in terms of revenue miles. Here's a comparison of jet fleet sizes as of December 31, 1978, just to show how big TWA was and that it was not too much smaller than United, American or Eastern.

United 340
Eastern 252
American 244
TWA 221
Delta 205
Northwest 107
Braniff 106
Pan Am 89
Allegheny 84
Continental 65
National 55
Western 49

TWA was the only airline that flew to Europe and the Middle East as well as domestically. What TWA really needed was a hub in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas or Houston. They could have easilly absorbed one of the smaller carriers with all of the money they had made in the 70s. Northwest could have given them an Asia/Pacific presence. Taking over Braniff wouldn't have been bad either since they could have used South American routes. Even a merger with Delta might have been good adding Atlanta as a hub and a heavy Eastern seaboard presence.

However, after the takeover by Carl Icahn everything just seemed to go downhill. Assets were sold, they were stuck with an ageing fleet and acquired Ozark. In the 1980s when American, Delta, Northwest and United grew, TWA shrunk. They acquired around 30 new aircraft before the Ozark merger (20 MD-80s and 10 767s), compare this with the above mentioned acquiring fuel-efficient 737s, 757s and 767s. Then there was the whole idea that more 747s were what was needed so they bought a bunch of ex Iberia, TAP, Olympic, British Airways and Swissair jumbos that would fill up easilly on JFK to Europe in the summer but had a hard time being filled in the winter.

Throughout the 1990s their shrinking act continued unabated. LHR was sold off yet the 747s stayed around flying JFK to Europe. It it hadn't been for the crash of TW800 they were planning on keeping these dinosaurs until 2000 at least. TWA even acquired more 747-200s in 1996 because they were anticipating a profit and more European expansion. It was almost as if they were a person on a diet who would reward himself by binge eating after having found out they had lost 5 lbs. A330s were ordered in 1989 though instead of trying to take these and phase out the 747s and Tristars they waited until it was too late. TW800 happened and all of the sudden it was time for a fleet renewl, kind of like locking your door after your house has been robbed.

So in the late 1990s they shrunk even more, cutting European routes and scaling down JFK. A perfect plane for JFK to Europe, the 767-300ER finally came into the fleet, only they were about 5 years after everyone else had them. New 757-200s arrived and again these were years after American and United introduced them. The fleet modernisation that took place after 1997 did revitilise the carrier to some extent by giving the company a much needed fresh face. However it still didn't stem the flow of red ink that that by this time was called Karabu.

By that time TWA was too far gone to survive 9/11 as an independent carrier. Though they had lots of plans in the works. By now they were supposed to have had 25 A318s in the fleet with all 50 717s. The DC-9s were supposed to be retired by 2003 and the MD-80s were also supposed to have started their retirement being replaced by A319s and A320s that were supposed to have started arriving in 2005 (They had 25 firm orders and 75 options). The 767-200s were supposed to have been gone with more 767-300ERs coming into the fleet. STL-FRA was to have been restarted in May 2002. Other routes to be launched in 2002 were SJU-CCS and STL-BDA. Karabu would have ended in 2003 and I am almost certain TWA would have tried to return to certain cities like MAD, LIS, BCN, FCO, MXP with 763s and 752s and at least have attempted to be a niche carrier, if by some miracle they had survived.
 
WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:00 pm

Quoting DETA737 (Reply 32):
I am almost certain TWA would have tried to return to certain cities like MAD, LIS, BCN, FCO, MXP with 763s and 752s and at least have attempted to be a niche carrier, if by some miracle they had survived.

On the employee side, lord knows we tried our damndest despite the Karabu deal and everything else, we just ran out of time after all had been said and done. Bill Compton came 3 years too late, we had to deal with that yahoo from RenoAir, who thought 747's were the cure-all.  banghead 
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N1120A
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:04 pm

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 33):
we had to deal with that yahoo from RenoAir, who thought 747's were the cure-all.

One of the main reasons TWA bought all the 747s is because they really couldn't afford much of anything else. Pretty much the only way to get something smaller was to buy new, which TWA just didn't have the money to do. TWA basically mirrored Tower Air in this method.

If you think about it, TWA could have probably gotten at least 10 767s for the money Ichan pulled out of the company, not to mention all the debt service they could have done so as to drop interest payments.
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WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:15 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 34):
If you think about it, TWA could have probably gotten at least 10 767s for the money Ichan pulled out of the company, not to mention all the debt service they could have done so as to drop interest payments.

And with all that money Icahn pocketed from the ORD slots and LHR deal, we could have had new A330's and as you said, paid down some debt.
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N1120A
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:21 pm

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 35):
And with all that money Icahn pocketed from the ORD slots and LHR deal, we could have had new A330's and as you said, paid down some debt.

Or better yet, TWA wouldn't have sold those incredibly valuable slots in the first place and would have had a much higher yield and cash flow. TWA wasn't particularly broken when Ichan took over, it was just the victim of bad luck and hanging on to the 707s for a bit too long.
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WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:45 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 36):
Or better yet, TWA wouldn't have sold those incredibly valuable slots in the first place and would have had a much higher yield and cash flow. TWA wasn't particularly broken when Ichan took over, it was just the victim of bad luck and hanging on to the 707s for a bit too long.

Touche, mon amie. We did a good thing by buying the MD-80's at first, but we couldve had an advantage for not only the 767-200, but also if we had ordered the 757 at the time as well, and gotten a one-up on EA.

Welcome to my RU list, N1120A, for posting some incredible ideas of TWA.
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N1120A
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:55 pm

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 37):
Welcome to my RU list, N1120A, for posting some incredible ideas of TWA.

Thanks, wish I had more space on mine. Believe it or not, I was never really a huge fan of TWA growing up, always more of a United/Pan Am/PSA/AirCal guy, but I have a whole lot of respect for Howard Hughes and also despise what American and Ichan did to them.

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 37):
Touche, mon amie. We did a good thing by buying the MD-80's at first, but we couldve had an advantage for not only the 767-200, but also if we had ordered the 757 at the time as well, and gotten a one-up on EA.

Yeah, the 757 would have been the ideal replacement for the 707s (didn't they keep those hogs till 1984?), given the role that they operated in. Also, TW was really ahead of its time with the LIS-JFK route on the 757 and should have really expanded on that concept. The 747 had its place in the TWA fleet, particularly in keeping CASM down. I think one of the big problems was the fact that the airline had too many -100 aircraft and not enough -200s, which meant they were taking weight hits of routes like ATH-JFK. The 767 certainly would have helped, particularly for thinner long haul routes and as cover for slower winter seasons when the 747s could have been sent to have their checks done. Conversely, the 767s could have gone into MX during the summers when the 747s were getting their workouts, or put on seasonal sections.
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WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:03 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 38):
Conversely, the 767s could have gone into MX during the summers when the 747s were getting their workouts, or put on seasonal sections.

Oh, I so agree. Since the 767's would be relatively low-cycle, high-yield doestic runs would have worked out nicely, like JFK-LAX, with say a crossbreed of UA's PS and AA's service, but with the TWA trademark style. Also, JFK-Caribbean service could have been started and then increased with a mix of 757 and 767 ETOPS a/c. GOD, too many ifs and a barrel of monkeys coulda ran the place better.
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N1120A
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:10 pm

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 39):
Also, JFK-Caribbean service could have been started and then increased with a mix of 757 and 767 ETOPS a/c.

Wouldn't have even needed ETOPS

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 39):
Oh, I so agree. Since the 767's would be relatively low-cycle, high-yield doestic runs would have worked out nicely, like JFK-LAX, with say a crossbreed of UA's PS and AA's service, but with the TWA trademark style.

Yeah, TW could have possibly swung what United does now during the heavy summers in putting the big stuff on hub flights. While I think STL actually had plenty of potential as a hub (the airport built Atlanta, not the other way around), the eggs in one basket strategy killed them. It is sort of like the US obsession with raping people in the northeast or the soon to become apparent lack of a western hub for Continental. At one time, TW had the domestic coverage of United (including a nice little focus at MSY for a southern presence), if they had the expansion minded management of a Gordon Bethune (who has other failings, I don't drink anyone's Koolaid) they could have easily taken a fair chunk of the market today.
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WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:19 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 40):
or the soon to become apparent lack of a western hub for Continental

I won't delve to far into this one, but we still have a nice chunk of the A concourse in DEN that we lease out to F9. We have the potential there, all we'd have to do is boot out F9, and wait for thir response, lol.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 40):
if they had the expansion minded management of a Gordon Bethune (who has other failings, I don't drink anyone's Koolaid) they could have easily taken a fair chunk of the market today.

Gordon was a visionary, but then again, so was Bill Compton, they were airline OPS guys, not accountants, nor were they out to make a buck at any cost. They genuinely cared for CO/TW, and did everything in their power to make everythign work for them. For Gordon it worked, Bill was too late. Quite sad, really, I could have definately seen a possible TW/CO venture.
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N1120A
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:23 pm

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 41):
I won't delve to far into this one, but we still have a nice chunk of the A concourse in DEN that we lease out to F9. We have the potential there, all we'd have to do is boot out F9, and wait for thir response, lol.

That would ruin both airlines.

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 41):
Gordon was a visionary, but then again, so was Bill Compton, they were airline OPS guys, not accountants, nor were they out to make a buck at any cost. They genuinely cared for CO/TW, and did everything in their power to make everythign work for them. For Gordon it worked, Bill was too late. Quite sad, really, I could have definately seen a possible TW/CO venture.

The main problem with airline people is that they can't seem to think in more than one direction at once. International expansion is good, but so is getting more US domestic coverage. You need to try and do both at the same time, otherwise you run the risk of having an unbalanced network
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WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:30 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 42):
You need to try and do both at the same time, otherwise you run the risk of having an unbalanced network

Absolutely, CO is not TOO unbalanced, we have the HNL/GUM co-hubs, but I'd like to see somethign grow out of either DEN or LAX, where we own the gates, OR if, unfortunately, DL folds, if CO could capture the DL gates in SLC, that would make for an excellent hub as well.
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N1120A
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:39 pm

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 43):
Absolutely, CO is not TOO unbalanced, we have the HNL/GUM co-hubs, but I'd like to see somethign grow out of either DEN or LAX, where we own the gates, OR if, unfortunately, DL folds, if CO could capture the DL gates in SLC, that would make for an excellent hub as well.

Actually, I think the best thing would be for NW to go the way of the dodo, with United and Continental shifting into their place. Additionally, Delta could stand to relieve some of their Atlanta heavy load on a stronger north-midwestern presence. The idea of a Memphis hub could finally be tossed out and a focus/mini hub be started at MSY for United. Continental could then possibly benefit from taking over some of NW's P2P routes from LAX and their interest in Terminal 2.
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WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:49 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 44):
The idea of a Memphis hub could finally be tossed out and a focus/mini hub be started at MSY for United.

I agree on the MEM hub needed to be dismantled. Does NW actually make anything from it?

Quoting N1120A (Reply 44):
Continental could then possibly benefit from taking over some of NW's P2P routes from LAX and their interest in Terminal 2.

Or we could stick with the 10-12 gates we own but lease out in what T6-7? I still think revamping DL's SLC presence with CO would be better, with all the feed from the northwest, montana, midwest, and alaska and the southwest, it could be a nice little gem in CO's map.
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N1120A
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:03 pm

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 45):
I agree on the MEM hub needed to be dismantled. Does NW actually make anything from it?

Sure they do. They have FedEx's fat corporate contract to thank for that. They also know that any sort of real LCC presence there would bring fares to realistic levels and the O&D would have no chance of counter balancing it.

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 45):
Or we could stick with the 10-12 gates we own but lease out in what T6-7?

The T6 gates are not owned, at least not in the sense that gates are owned at T2 (CO has nothing in T7, that is strictly United territory). Also, CO doesn't lease out gates to anyone. They share some with United and Delta, but that is about it. The real interloper in that terminal is Delta, who are operating in flagrant violation of their lease on T5 anyway and don't particularly need the gates they do operate in T6.

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 45):
I still think revamping DL's SLC presence with CO would be better, with all the feed from the northwest, montana, midwest, and alaska and the southwest, it could be a nice little gem in CO's map.

SLC is a nice little hub, but I don't see DL going anywhere
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WesternA318
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:10 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 46):
The T6 gates are not owned

I believe they are lease from LA World Airports, I'd have to ask around, havent dealt with anythign for LAX yet.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 46):
They have FedEx's fat corporate contract to thank for that.

Oh yeah...
All those Purple People Eaters flying on the Red Tails...

Quoting N1120A (Reply 46):
They also know that any sort of real LCC presence there would bring fares to realistic levels and the O&D would have no chance of counter balancing it.

Man, I can't WAIT till F9 and FL fly in there.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 46):
SLC is a nice little hub

Thankyewverymuch!  bigthumbsup 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:34 pm

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 5):


IF we didn't take over Ozark and being saddling with more aging planes like the DC-9's,

Icahn sold and leased those planes back for roughly the same amount he paid for Ozark. TWA was essentially "saddled" with 50 free planes and eliminated it's primary domestic competitor. Not a bad deal, and I'm hardly defending Icahn, but that move was shrewd. Unfortunately, it didn't add another hub to the TWA system. THAT was the downside of the Ozark purchase. The DC-9's were the workhorse of TWA's short/medium haul domestic network until the arrival of the 717's.

Quoting DETA737 (Reply 32):


They acquired around 30 new aircraft before the Ozark merger (20 MD-80s and 10 767s),

Incorrect. Ozark was operating 46 DC-9 10's/30's/40's and 4 MD-80's at the time of the buyout. 767's were never operated by Ozark.
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N1120A
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RE: Deregulation And TWA

Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:34 pm

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 47):
Man, I can't WAIT till F9 and FL fly in there.

WN would be a better idea.

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 47):
Quoting N1120A (Reply 46):
SLC is a nice little hub

Thankyewverymuch!

Didn't say anything about the town or the people  Silly

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 48):
Quoting DETA737 (Reply 32):


They acquired around 30 new aircraft before the Ozark merger (20 MD-80s and 10 767s),

Incorrect. Ozark was operating 46 DC-9 10's/30's/40's and 4 MD-80's at the time of the buyout. 767's were never operated by Ozark.

Notice they were talking about what TWA acquired before the merger

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 48):
Icahn sold and leased those planes back for roughly the same amount he paid for Ozark. TWA was essentially "saddled" with 50 free planes and eliminated it's primary domestic competitor. Not a bad deal, and I'm hardly defending Icahn, but that move was shrewd. Unfortunately, it didn't add another hub to the TWA system. THAT was the downside of the Ozark purchase. The DC-9's were the workhorse of TWA's short/medium haul domestic network until the arrival of the 717's.

Except of course that TWA no longer had those capital assets on the books nor the depreciation benefits on their taxes.
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