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History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:09 am
by TTraider95
Hello Everybody,

AA operated a hub in STL from 2001 to 2009, but that is all I know. So, I have a few questions.

1.) How many flights did AA operate at their peak? I know the first major draw-down occurred in late 2003 and 2004, 50% flights were cut along with Honolulu and Gatwick. How many flights did they operate between 2003 and 2009.

2.) What non-hub cities did AA serve between 2003 and 2009? They only fly to their hubs now.

3.) Did any AA pilots or Flight Attendants transfer to STL? Or was it former TWA flight crews working the STL flights?

4.) What was American Connection? Did they appear in 2001 or was it sometime after that?

I know I asked some loaded questions, so thank you for all your help. :smile:

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:55 am
by Danielator36
American Connection was, as I understand it, another subsidiary of American Airlines, just like American Eagle. This means that they were operated by other operators. The one I'm most familiar with is Corporate Airlines, which operated a fleet of Bae Jetstreams, and flew to small cities throughout the midwest, some EAS, some not. The ones I remember are Lafayette IN, Burlington IA, Kirksville MO, Ft Leonard Wood MO, Cape Girardeau MO, Marion IL, and Paducah KY. Many of these routes started getting cut back as they lost passengers due to the downsizing of the St. Louis hub.

If you are interested, I know plenty of sources where you can get more specific info on a lot of your questions.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:01 am
by N649DL
STL served as a reliever hub for ORD for AA for much of the early to late 2000s. It was greatly dismantled during the recession and rather quickly, IMHO.

I recall flying EWR-ORD-LAX back in college in 8/2007 and the ORD-LAX leg got downgraded to a 757 from a 763. One option I had (and didn't take it) was to do ORD-STL on an S80 and then STL-LAX on a legacy AA 757 (not ex-TWA 757, they still had them at the time.) So even Mid-Late 2007 AA still had a full on hub at STL.

The ex-TWA 757s were in the mainline AA fleet until around 2007-2009 and quite a few were sold off to DL because they were PW engines and AA flew RR's. At first in 2001 when AA/TW merged they were mostly based out of STL, but they moved them around later in the decade. I also flew LAX-DFW-BWI in college in 2007 and the first leg was a legacy AA 757 and DFW-BWI was on an ex-TW 757 with flip down overhead screens in the isles. The interior on the TWA 757 compared to the legacy AA was in way better shape and had completely different interiors. The F cabin was cloth and gray patterned seats and the coach seats were a red and blue pattern. They were also narrower, similar to what NW and CO installed on their 757s in the late 1990s.

No idea where the displaced TWA F/A's in STL went but it was a pretty screwed up situation of how AA handled it. Part of it was because of the fallout of 9/11 but I believe they still have a crew base open at STL even right now. I do recall flying LAX-DFW-PVR in 2008 and on the second leg I was in F on the S80 and the F/A was awesome and from TWA. I can't recall if he was based in STL or had moved to DFW at that point.

American Connection was the American Eagle affiliate out of STL formed from the ex-TWA "Tran States" operation. One route that stayed well into 2008 was EWR-STL on E-145s but there were many other spokes served from STL until 2008-2009.

Despite the sad dismantling of STL by AA, it remains a very important spoke or them based on corporate contracts.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:22 am
by quickmover
Trans states or at least the same name is still flying erj’s for United out of DEN.
Wonder if they were a subsidiary of TWA at one time or just a subcontractor?

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:29 am
by nc3rd
American Connection carriers were left over TW-Express carriers. At the time American Eagle, which was the name of the airline at the time and not a brand like it is now, was the exclusive express carrier for AA. So the the TW-Express carriers became American Connection. It wasnt until recent that American Eagle became a brand and the carrier that was formerly American Eagle is known as envoy. The American Connection carriers were under a contract and not owned by TWA nor AA. Corporate Airlines (aka Regions Air), Chautauqua, and TransStates were the three.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:30 am
by Cubsrule
There’s a fair amount of confused information about American Connection in here. American Connection was the umbrella term for non-owned carriers. At various times, 3C (Corporate), AX (Trans States) and RP (Chautauqua) operated as American Connection. On the ERJs, Connection aircraft had an all blue eagle on the tail. Connection was almost but not entirely confined to STL. AX did some MIA flying in the 2008-2009 timeframe and RP transitioned to ORD for a while after the dehubbing. There was generally also a small amount of MQ flying, usually to rotate an aircraft into maintenance at SGF. It was often an ER3 that routed something like JFK-BNA-STL-SGF.

There was a significant cut in 2009 but the hub was fairly stable at 200-ish flights for some time before that. In that period, mainline probably flew to 15 or 18 destinations and Connection to about 30 more. Virtually every destination was either all-mainline or all-Connection.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:35 am
by Ionosphere
American Connection was the name used for the former Trans World Express operation. In 2001, American Eagle was only regionals owned by AMR (American Eagle Airlines & Executive Airlines). American Connection flights were operated Chautauqua Airlines, Corporate Airlines, and Trans States Airlines.

Chautauqua had flown the Saab 340 & ERJ-145 for TWE. I don't know if the Saabs ever flew as American Connection. Chautauqua later started flying ERJ-135 & ERJ-140s too for American Connection. By 2010, the Chautauqua flying had all moved to ORD exclusively on the ERJ-140. The final American Connection was flown in August 2014 HPN-ORD on a Chautauqua ERJ-140. American Connection ended when Chautauqua would not seek renewal of the contract. Republic, the parent of Chautauqua, was shifting away from 50 seater flying. My first American Connection flight was on a Chautauqua ERJ-135 BOS-STL in December 2003.

Corporate Airlines, later renamed RegionsAir, flew only the J31s out of STL as American Connection. Corporate Flight 5966 crashed landing in Kirksville, MO, on a flight from STL on October 19, 2004. The crash killed the 2 pilots and 11 passengers. 2 passengers survived the crash. RegionsAir shut down in 2007, but I think they had already stopped flying as American Connection by that point. RegionsAir flew Saab 340s out of CLE for Continental Connection when they shut down.

Trans States flew the ATR-42, ATR-72, Jetstream 41, and the ERJ-145 for American Connection. The ATRs didn't last long, I think they were gone by 2003. The final J41 flight was in 2006. Trans States stopped flying for American in 2009. I flew Trans States from St. Louis to Columbia, MO on the J41 a couple times in 2005/2006.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:37 am
by HPAEAA
N649DL wrote:
No idea where the displaced TWA F/A's in STL went but it was a pretty screwed up situation of how AA handled it. Part of it was because of the fallout of 9/11 but I believe they still have a crew base open at STL even right now. I do recall flying LAX-DFW-PVR in 2008 and on the second leg I was in F on the S80 and the F/A was awesome and from TWA. I can't recall if he was based in STL or had moved to DFW at that point.

American Connection was the American Eagle affiliate out of STL formed from the ex-TWA "Tran States" operation. One route that stayed well into 2008 was EWR-STL on E-145s but there were many other spokes served from STL until 2008-2009.

From what I recall, the TWA pilots & flight attendants got stapled to the bottom of the seniority lists at AA and as a result of the downturn after 9/11 almost all of them were furloughed.. given the ownership of American Eagle at that point, a number of them got flowed back (I think that was the term) from mainline to eagle & continued in the industry until they were recalled to mainline in 2005 & beyond. I remember a FO making a comment once that it was impossible to upgrade at eagle because of how many twa pilots were flying... it was also another reason it wasn’t until 2009 or so before AMR began hiring off the street for pilots and FAs.

American Connection was anything not operated by American Eagle (now Envoy), trans states seemed to fly under the brand the longest, but others such as chautauqua also operated at different points.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:43 am
by Ionosphere
Every single TWA FA was furloughed by 2003. By then, pre merger American FAs were based in STL. The TWA FAs were recalled several years later but ended up going to junior bases like DC & LGA.

Trans States was never owned by TWA. They changed their name from Resorts Air to Trans States in 1989.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:46 am
by Ionosphere
In Summer 2010, American Connection was strictly Chautauqua flying out of ORD on the ERJ-140. From ORD they flew to MSN, MKE, CWA, GRB, AZO, FNT, GRR, IND, FWA, SDF, CVG, OKC, BMI, MLI, PIA.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:30 am
by CIDFlyer
Americans hub at STL was roughly 400+ daily flights from the time of the merger with TWA until November 2003 when it was downsized by 50% to 200+ flights. Flights were consolidated into concourse C (although they did use concourse B for a little bit for a few flights-I remember disembarking on a flight from JAX-STL at B in 2006). Concourse D was totally closed up. I always liked using the STL hub for connections in the mid to late 2000s as connecting there was a breeze since everything was basically in concourse C. One a flight from CID-STL-ORF in 2008 I literally only had to walk to the gate next to me. The AA connection flights (ERJs) were generally on the south side of C while mainline was on the north side.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:32 am
by CIDFlyer
I should add the hub was officially dismantled in April 2010 I believe (by then it was maybe down to 80 flights). I know at CID we had lost our flights through STL In August 2009 as it was slowly getting cut that year every quarter. By the time we lost our flights I think it was down to about 160 flights

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:34 am
by CIDFlyer
*edited to remove duplicate post

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:56 am
by N649DL
HPAEAA wrote:
N649DL wrote:
No idea where the displaced TWA F/A's in STL went but it was a pretty screwed up situation of how AA handled it. Part of it was because of the fallout of 9/11 but I believe they still have a crew base open at STL even right now. I do recall flying LAX-DFW-PVR in 2008 and on the second leg I was in F on the S80 and the F/A was awesome and from TWA. I can't recall if he was based in STL or had moved to DFW at that point.

American Connection was the American Eagle affiliate out of STL formed from the ex-TWA "Tran States" operation. One route that stayed well into 2008 was EWR-STL on E-145s but there were many other spokes served from STL until 2008-2009.

From what I recall, the TWA pilots & flight attendants got stapled to the bottom of the seniority lists at AA and as a result of the downturn after 9/11 almost all of them were furloughed.. given the ownership of American Eagle at that point, a number of them got flowed back (I think that was the term) from mainline to eagle & continued in the industry until they were recalled to mainline in 2005 & beyond. I remember a FO making a comment once that it was impossible to upgrade at eagle because of how many twa pilots were flying... it was also another reason it wasn’t until 2009 or so before AMR began hiring off the street for pilots and FAs.

American Connection was anything not operated by American Eagle (now Envoy), trans states seemed to fly under the brand the longest, but others such as chautauqua also operated at different points.


Ah, thanks for this. Were all the TWA employees completely gone and then recalled in the mid-2000s? That seems really aggressive, especially since I had that ex-TWA F/A on legacy AA metal on DFW-PVR in early 2008.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:33 am
by Jshank83
AA closed their STL pilot base last year. They still have a FA base at STL. They also do aircraft maintenance at STL. Others seemed to have mentioned how the TWA workers moved over to AA.

Trans states contract with AA expired this year at some point but I think they might have actually quit flying for AA last year. Now they only fly for UA (under the TSA name). Trans states also owns Gojet, which is also in STL, and compass which I think is at MSP.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:56 am
by Phosphorus
From what I read at the time, there was a ring-fence around STL pilot base in AA-TWA transaction. Technically, TWA pilots were stapled at the bottom of AA seniority list, but STL pilot base was walled off. I don't remember the exact wording, but the sad joke of that era was along the lines "the structures you can see from space are the Great Wall of China and the pilot fence in St.Louis" or something like that.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:00 pm
by Cointrin330
Does anyone recall when AA stopped flying STL-LGW which was the only TATL route from STL once the TWA acquisition (it wasn't a merger, it was an outright buy) was completed?

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:08 pm
by dcaproducer
For a look back, this link shows the TWA routes up to 2000, just before the AA acquisition. At its peak in the late ‘90’s TW had over 500 flights a day at STL and STL crosses 30 million passengers in ‘99 and 2000. As someone who grew up in STL in the days of Ozark and then all TW, by the ‘90’s the place was bursting at the seams. It was also a really tough time for most airlines. The industry is vastly different today that it was 20 years ago.

http://www.departedflights.com/TWSTLhub.html

https://www.flystl.com/uploads/document ... 0-2018.pdf

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:35 pm
by BUFJACK10
If memory serves AA also operated somewhat of a hub in STL in the early days of deregulation (around 1978-79) that was supposed to serve the same purpose. It did not last long, just as the former TWA operation.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:16 pm
by Tan Flyr
BUFJACK10 wrote:
If memory serves AA also operated somewhat of a hub in STL in the early days of deregulation (around 1978-79) that was supposed to serve the same purpose. It did not last long, just as the former TWA operation.


I recall that AA mini hub as late as spring summer of 81. Used it from Indianapolis. All 727 operation. While I liked it, not sure who thought going up against the TWA fortress hub was a good idea. While TWA was already suffering the first wounds of no plan for de-regulation, I don't think AA's performance was outstanding by any measure. I recall the flights maybe 50-60% full.( That was 38 years ago)

I think it was pulled down in September of 81 when AA retired the last of the 707's and the 727's were assigned to other routes, likely the build up of DFW.

That is what I recall..hope it helps.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:35 pm
by jfklganyc
You experience in STL masked what was happening with TWA. TW was a disaster. JFK was being slashed rapidly. They tried little focus cities in LA and SJU. They were down to two cities in Europe and TLV/CAI

The only reason STL was doing so well is they brought any remaining resources home to that base in the hope of salvaging the airline.

It obviously didnt work.

On to the merger:

1. Bad outside events

2. Two corrupt unions integrating pilots. TW was represented by ALPA. They sold out their own group. Settled for some integration of the top half and staple of the bottom half. They did this in the hopes that APA would switch back to ALPA. ALPA Paid a huge financial settlement after they lost in court when sued by the TW pilots in a class action suit

3. The idea of a hub in St. Louis was a dated one. Harkens back to a time of midwest hubs almost entirely dependent on connections to work

4. AMR was an evil merger company. They had a history of screwing and over anybody they ever bought


The flowback to Eagle was pretty ugly. It involved a lawsuit that set a precedent to a flow thru program: flow thru in one direction could flow back in the other direction.

AA and TW guys got to flow back. I flew with both groups.

The TW guys were great! I cant emphasize that enough. They were getting screwed more ways than you can imagine. They were professional and pleasant with great TW stories. A few scared me with 767 flares in an ERJ!

The AA guys couldnt have been more different...I will leave it at that!

Definitely an ugly time at AMR.

Many of the Eagle FOs hired in 2003 only flowed thru to AA in the last few years!

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:36 pm
by HPAEAA
N649DL wrote:
HPAEAA wrote:
N649DL wrote:
No idea where the displaced TWA F/A's in STL went but it was a pretty screwed up situation of how AA handled it. Part of it was because of the fallout of 9/11 but I believe they still have a crew base open at STL even right now. I do recall flying LAX-DFW-PVR in 2008 and on the second leg I was in F on the S80 and the F/A was awesome and from TWA. I can't recall if he was based in STL or had moved to DFW at that point.

American Connection was the American Eagle affiliate out of STL formed from the ex-TWA "Tran States" operation. One route that stayed well into 2008 was EWR-STL on E-145s but there were many other spokes served from STL until 2008-2009.

From what I recall, the TWA pilots & flight attendants got stapled to the bottom of the seniority lists at AA and as a result of the downturn after 9/11 almost all of them were furloughed.. given the ownership of American Eagle at that point, a number of them got flowed back (I think that was the term) from mainline to eagle & continued in the industry until they were recalled to mainline in 2005 & beyond. I remember a FO making a comment once that it was impossible to upgrade at eagle because of how many twa pilots were flying... it was also another reason it wasn’t until 2009 or so before AMR began hiring off the street for pilots and FAs.

American Connection was anything not operated by American Eagle (now Envoy), trans states seemed to fly under the brand the longest, but others such as chautauqua also operated at different points.


Ah, thanks for this. Were all the TWA employees completely gone and then recalled in the mid-2000s? That seems really aggressive, especially since I had that ex-TWA F/A on legacy AA metal on DFW-PVR in early 2008.


it was aggressive, but the downturn in 2001/02 for air travel was very significant & planes were being sent to the desert on a regular basis... when the first cuts were made to StL I remember Cleveland loosing something like 5 MD80 flights a day to STL and only picking up a couple of eagle flights to Chicago as backfill..... Found this article for a little context, between 2001-2002 AA cut something like 27,000 workers and literally parked hundreds of jets in an effort to stem the losses.. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/14/busi ... -ios-share

I believe at one point all of the TWA FAs were on furlough around 2003-2004 from AA but can’t say for certain (was a pretty strong rumor, but I never saw the payroll files to be certain). AA & Eagle had a setup at the time which allowed mainline to work at Eagle if they were furloughed and somehow get credit for their mainline seniority so a number opted to fly at eagle until they got their recall notices at mainline. I don’t remember if they got preference in the recall process but they had something like 10 years of recall rights (I.e, they were offered positions before a person was hired off the street) so it’s very likely that your FA in 2008 had been brought back since AA didn’t hire any FAs off the street till 2009 or so.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:51 pm
by MIflyer12
Cointrin330 wrote:
Does anyone recall when AA stopped flying STL-LGW which was the only TATL route from STL once the TWA acquisition (it wasn't a merger, it was an outright buy) was completed?


Well, it was in the 2002 schedule.

viewtopic.php?t=531909

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:19 pm
by stlgph
Cointrin330 wrote:
Does anyone recall when AA stopped flying STL-LGW which was the only TATL route from STL once the TWA acquisition (it wasn't a merger, it was an outright buy) was completed?


During the first axe at the end of October 2003, which I believe was either the 30th or the 31st.

I remember Frontier immediately coming in with flights to Denver on Nov 1.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:00 pm
by dcaproducer
jfklganyc wrote:
You experience in STL masked what was happening with TWA. TW was a disaster. JFK was being slashed rapidly. They tried little focus cities in LA and SJU. They were down to two cities in Europe and TLV/CAI

The only reason STL was doing so well is they brought any remaining resources home to that base in the hope of salvaging the airline.

It obviously didnt work.

On to the merger:

1. Bad outside events

2. Two corrupt unions integrating pilots. TW was represented by ALPA. They sold out their own group. Settled for some integration of the top half and staple of the bottom half. They did this in the hopes that APA would switch back to ALPA. ALPA Paid a huge financial settlement after they lost in court when sued by the TW pilots in a class action suit

3. The idea of a hub in St. Louis was a dated one. Harkens back to a time of midwest hubs almost entirely dependent on connections to work

4. AMR was an evil merger company. They had a history of screwing and over anybody they ever bought


The flowback to Eagle was pretty ugly. It involved a lawsuit that set a precedent to a flow thru program: flow thru in one direction could flow back in the other direction.

AA and TW guys got to flow back. I flew with both groups.

The TW guys were great! I cant emphasize that enough. They were getting screwed more ways than you can imagine. They were professional and pleasant with great TW stories. A few scared me with 767 flares in an ERJ!

The AA guys couldnt have been more different...I will leave it at that!

Definitely an ugly time at AMR.

Many of the Eagle FOs hired in 2003 only flowed thru to AA in the last few years!


Even more than any of this was Carl Icahn made it impossible for TWA to make money. Selling off valuable routes, bad fleet decisions, etc.
https://www.businessinsider.com/marc-an ... ine-2014-3

Where the airline industry is today is almost an anomaly in the timeline of aviation history. Many factors have come together to make the industry profitable. In the 70's, 80's and 90's, early 2000's the amount of airline bankruptcy, mergers and going out of business was crazy compared to where we are today. And to say today is the result of all of the consolidation is only partly true. DL, AA, UA still have to compete with WN, AS, B6, NK, F9, and to a lesser extent Allegiant.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:35 pm
by kbmiflyer
Apparently the employees at BMI are still Trans States employees. They say they are the only ones left in the AA system.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:54 pm
by pmanni1
dcaproducer wrote:
For a look back, this link shows the TWA routes up to 2000, just before the AA acquisition. At its peak in the late ‘90’s TW had over 500 flights a day at STL and STL crosses 30 million passengers in ‘99 and 2000. As someone who grew up in STL in the days of Ozark and then all TW, by the ‘90’s the place was bursting at the seams. It was also a really tough time for most airlines. The industry is vastly different today that it was 20 years ago.

http://www.departedflights.com/TWSTLhub.html

https://www.flystl.com/uploads/document ... 0-2018.pdf

Thank heaven for WN. While not at the level that TWA and AA were, there's no other airport that's been dehubbed that's made as big of a comeback as STL.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:09 pm
by Cubsrule
pmanni1 wrote:
dcaproducer wrote:
For a look back, this link shows the TWA routes up to 2000, just before the AA acquisition. At its peak in the late ‘90’s TW had over 500 flights a day at STL and STL crosses 30 million passengers in ‘99 and 2000. As someone who grew up in STL in the days of Ozark and then all TW, by the ‘90’s the place was bursting at the seams. It was also a really tough time for most airlines. The industry is vastly different today that it was 20 years ago.

http://www.departedflights.com/TWSTLhub.html

https://www.flystl.com/uploads/document ... 0-2018.pdf

Thank heaven for WN. While not at the level that TWA and AA were, there's no other airport that's been dehubbed that's made as big of a comeback as STL.


WN has done wonders, though if you look at ASMs today versus ASMs at the 90s hub peak, I suspect BNA and RDU are both closer to their former peaks (which were admittedly much smaller than STL’s). That’s partially due to long haul flying, of course, where STL’s geography and lack of economic growth over the last 15 years really sting.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:07 pm
by Lpbri
On the equipment side, TWAs operation was folded into AA in 2003 IIRC. DC-9s, 717s, and 767-200s were not carried over, hence the downsizing. AA also parked its F-100s and legacy TWA MD-80s took up the slack. 727s were all parked before 2003. 767-300s were operated briefly, but were returned to lessors as new 757s ( the last batch ) were delivered.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:09 pm
by ikramerica
AA inherited hub from TWA. They had no interest in keeping it long term, only long enough to satisfy anti-trust regulators that "they tried." They reduced it continually and once it was safe to close it, they did.

That's pretty much it. The rest is just mental gymnastics.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:54 pm
by jsnww81
CIDFlyer wrote:
Flights were consolidated into concourse C (although they did use concourse B for a little bit for a few flights-I remember disembarking on a flight from JAX-STL at B in 2006). Concourse D was totally closed up.


Yep, I remember arriving at Concourse B on an American Connection flight from Nashville in 2005. It saw some use even after the big whack in late 2003.

After the consolidation onto C, as the cuts continued AA slowly started pulling back from the end of the concourse. It was pretty normal for the last 10 gates (with the high ceilings, where the Europe flights used to park) to be completely empty. Once in 2007 I had a 757 flight to Chicago board from the end of the concourse, and we were the only flight there. Most of the action during 2003-2008 was around the "elbow" of Concourse C.

I was never a fan of Concourse D, even in the TWA days - so long and drab. I liked knowing I was in the former Ozark Airplex, but other than nostalgia it was a pretty dumpy facility. Some of the D gates were reactivated after the 2011 tornado while C was getting cleaned up, if I remember correctly.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:56 pm
by Cubsrule
ikramerica wrote:
AA inherited hub from TWA. They had no interest in keeping it long term, only long enough to satisfy anti-trust regulators that "they tried." They reduced it continually and once it was safe to close it, they did.

That's pretty much it. The rest is just mental gymnastics.


I dunno. The hub was probably toast in the next economic downturn whenever it came, but where’s the evidence that closing the hub in, say, 2006 wouldn’t have satisfied the competition authorities?

I think a lot of folks who didn’t live in the Midwest in the 00s misunderstand or misremember how bad the summer of 2000 was at ORD. The need to do something - and a reliever hub was one possible something - was real.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:10 pm
by AirFiero
Tan Flyr wrote:
BUFJACK10 wrote:
If memory serves AA also operated somewhat of a hub in STL in the early days of deregulation (around 1978-79) that was supposed to serve the same purpose. It did not last long, just as the former TWA operation.


I recall that AA mini hub as late as spring summer of 81. Used it from Indianapolis. All 727 operation. While I liked it, not sure who thought going up against the TWA fortress hub was a good idea. While TWA was already suffering the first wounds of no plan for de-regulation, I don't think AA's performance was outstanding by any measure. I recall the flights maybe 50-60% full.( That was 38 years ago)

I think it was pulled down in September of 81 when AA retired the last of the 707's and the 727's were assigned to other routes, likely the build up of DFW.

That is what I recall..hope it helps.


When did AA started building a hub at ORD, and was the timing related to their STL hub experiment?

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 3:18 am
by mwmav8r01
Ionosphere wrote:
In Summer 2010, American Connection was strictly Chautauqua flying out of ORD on the ERJ-140. From ORD they flew to MSN, MKE, CWA, GRB, AZO, FNT, GRR, IND, FWA, SDF, CVG, OKC, BMI, MLI, PIA.



Dont forget our 1 long flight... HPN.

When we switched from STL to ORD we went from 2-4 flts a day to 6-8. Was quite the change.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 3:47 am
by HPAEAA
jfklganyc wrote:
You experience in STL masked what was happening with TWA. TW was a disaster. JFK was being slashed rapidly. They tried little focus cities in LA and SJU. They were down to two cities in Europe and TLV/CAI

The only reason STL was doing so well is they brought any remaining resources home to that base in the hope of salvaging the airline.

It obviously didnt work.

On to the merger:

1. Bad outside events

2. Two corrupt unions integrating pilots. TW was represented by ALPA. They sold out their own group. Settled for some integration of the top half and staple of the bottom half. They did this in the hopes that APA would switch back to ALPA. ALPA Paid a huge financial settlement after they lost in court when sued by the TW pilots in a class action suit

3. The idea of a hub in St. Louis was a dated one. Harkens back to a time of midwest hubs almost entirely dependent on connections to work

4. AMR was an evil merger company. They had a history of screwing and over anybody they ever bought


The flowback to Eagle was pretty ugly. It involved a lawsuit that set a precedent to a flow thru program: flow thru in one direction could flow back in the other direction.

AA and TW guys got to flow back. I flew with both groups.

The TW guys were great! I cant emphasize that enough. They were getting screwed more ways than you can imagine. They were professional and pleasant with great TW stories. A few scared me with 767 flares in an ERJ!

The AA guys couldnt have been more different...I will leave it at that!

Definitely an ugly time at AMR.

Many of the Eagle FOs hired in 2003 only flowed thru to AA in the last few years!

Good points, I wasn’t there until a few years after the merger once things had settled a bit (post the first big STL trimming), but I agree, the TWA guys were great, had the pleasure of working with pilots, FAs & fleet service/station agents from TWA, they all had been dealt multiple blows the past few years but had high spirits, were great to work with & loved the job in spite of it.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:37 am
by LambertMan
Cubsrule wrote:
ikramerica wrote:
AA inherited hub from TWA. They had no interest in keeping it long term, only long enough to satisfy anti-trust regulators that "they tried." They reduced it continually and once it was safe to close it, they did.

That's pretty much it. The rest is just mental gymnastics.


I dunno. The hub was probably toast in the next economic downturn whenever it came, but where’s the evidence that closing the hub in, say, 2006 wouldn’t have satisfied the competition authorities?

I think a lot of folks who didn’t live in the Midwest in the 00s misunderstand or misremember how bad the summer of 2000 was at ORD. The need to do something - and a reliever hub was one possible something - was real.

Correct. Don Carty was running AA when TW was purchased and the intention to maintain the hub was real. I doubt they counted on maintaining it at its peak (422 flights a day, I think), but they didn't buy TW for S80s alone. I think STL was certainly part of the calculus.

The other thing we know - between 2005 and 2007 the St. Louis mini-hub was making money for American. Gerard Aprey even called it a "very pleasant surprise," which says something coming from him. It was certainly and rightfully toast in 2008 after all the capacity reductions and issues with oil.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:44 pm
by dcaproducer
I think some are forgetting just how bad the aviation industry got in the early 2000’s. AA probably originally had plans to use STL in some hub capacity, but it was easy to chop as things went downhill economically.

STL has bounced back better than many other former hubs like CLE, MEM, CVG, PIT. It still has a good geographic location and ample facilities. I think this is what WN finds attractive. The facilities don’t need to be the latest and greatest, they just need to be economical. If WN needed five more gates tomorrow, STL could make that happen very quickly. If a new airline wanted to start at STL they could make that happen quickly.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 1:18 pm
by midway7
When did AA started building a hub at ORD, and was the timing related to their STL hub experiment?[/quote]


AA had hub styled operations at ORD since the late 1970's. I think the official hub announce came around 1983. Between 1984 and 1986, they were able to acquire most of the H concourse from DL, who moved to the newly built concourse L, and RC who merged their operations with NW in Terminal 2. By 1986 they had all of Concourses H and K, the MD80's were online, and the schedule was really banked for connections.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 1:23 pm
by superjeff
quickmover wrote:
Trans states or at least the same name is still flying erj’s for United out of DEN.
Wonder if they were a subsidiary of TWA at one time or just a subcontractor?



Trans States was the outgrowth of a company called Resort Air, which served various small towns in the Midwest (I flew them JLN-STL, connecting to St. Louis, back in the mid 1980's). They changed their name to Trans States when they signed a commuter affiliate agreement with TWA. They were never a subsidiary of TWA.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 2:31 pm
by AMALH747430
dcaproducer wrote:
I think some are forgetting just how bad the aviation industry got in the early 2000’s. AA probably originally had plans to use STL in some hub capacity, but it was easy to chop as things went downhill economically.

STL has bounced back better than many other former hubs like CLE, MEM, CVG, PIT. It still has a good geographic location and ample facilities. I think this is what WN finds attractive. The facilities don’t need to be the latest and greatest, they just need to be economical. If WN needed five more gates tomorrow, STL could make that happen very quickly. If a new airline wanted to start at STL they could make that happen quickly.


This is a big piece of the puzzle that folks have forgotten over the years. The system was bursting at the seams the late 90s, 2000, and the early 2001. All airlines were plagued by delays, especially during the summers. Even WN (which wasn't near as big as they are today) wasn't immune. WN pulled out of SFO during this era due to chronic delays causing operational issues in their route system. AA only had 4 true hubs at the time (DFW, ORD, MIA, and SJU) so they needed a way to flow capacity across the country without further impacting delay prone ORD and to some extent DFW. Buying TWA's assets seemed like the best solution. It gave them a great "reliever hub" and a fleet of compatible MD-80s to run it with. AA was the largest MD-80 operator in the world at the time. It was sound logic at the time but all that changed on September 11, 2001. Airlines no longer needed these "reliever hubs" as traffic dropped to the point that they actually needed the critical mass of their main hubs to make things work financially. AA made STL work for quite a while as an RJ centric hub but that came to an end when fuel prices got too out of hand. The same thing happened to smaller hubs at other airlines. US dropped PIT, DL dropped DFW, and HP dropped LAS as hubs. I always found it interesting that CO was able to make CLE work as long as they did but the CO of that era had very good management. Interesting side note. CO was the first major to post a quarterly profit after 9/11 followed quickly by AA.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:52 pm
by jsnww81
AMALH747430 wrote:

This is a big piece of the puzzle that folks have forgotten over the years. The system was bursting at the seams the late 90s, 2000, and the early 2001. All airlines were plagued by delays, especially during the summers.


Indeed. The summer of 2000 was total misery for traveling. Even discounting United's labor slowdown, it was total pandemonium at most of the major hub airports that year. Bad weather seemingly every day - somewhat like this year, honestly - and the news was constantly showing people sleeping on cots and standing in lines that stretched from one end of the terminal to the other.

Against that backdrop, the STL hub was going to relieve ORD and DFW and take some pressure off the system. It seemed to make sense at the time, and nobody could see what was just around the corner...

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:00 pm
by mercure1
anyone remember the caribou ticket deal

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:00 pm
by BUFJACK10
midway7 wrote:
When did AA started building a hub at ORD, and was the timing related to their STL hub experiment?



AA had hub styled operations at ORD since the late 1970's. I think the official hub announce came around 1983. Between 1984 and 1986, they were able to acquire most of the H concourse from DL, who moved to the newly built concourse L, and RC who merged their operations with NW in Terminal 2. By 1986 they had all of Concourses H and K, the MD80's were online, and the schedule was really banked for connections.[/quote]

In the 60’s and 70’s American operated a more linear route system that offered many connections at ORD but no where near what’s available today. Some connecting opportunities were available in DTW CLE and DFW. Keep in mind services to the Southeast and Pacific Northwest were non existent until after deregulation when airlines started hub mania. It was then ORD increased dramatically. I may be wrong but their late 70’s STL hub was an experiment to relieve ORD and allow more P2P from The Chicago area and routing connections through STL, the same justification in acquiring TWA.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:27 pm
by N983AN
HPAEAA wrote:
N649DL wrote:
No idea where the displaced TWA F/A's in STL went but it was a pretty screwed up situation of how AA handled it. Part of it was because of the fallout of 9/11 but I believe they still have a crew base open at STL even right now. I do recall flying LAX-DFW-PVR in 2008 and on the second leg I was in F on the S80 and the F/A was awesome and from TWA. I can't recall if he was based in STL or had moved to DFW at that point.

American Connection was the American Eagle affiliate out of STL formed from the ex-TWA "Tran States" operation. One route that stayed well into 2008 was EWR-STL on E-145s but there were many other spokes served from STL until 2008-2009.

From what I recall, the TWA pilots & flight attendants got stapled to the bottom of the seniority lists at AA and as a result of the downturn after 9/11 almost all of them were furloughed.. given the ownership of American Eagle at that point, a number of them got flowed back (I think that was the term) from mainline to eagle & continued in the industry until they were recalled to mainline in 2005 & beyond. I remember a FO making a comment once that it was impossible to upgrade at eagle because of how many twa pilots were flying... it was also another reason it wasn’t until 2009 or so before AMR began hiring off the street for pilots and FAs.

American Connection was anything not operated by American Eagle (now Envoy), trans states seemed to fly under the brand the longest, but others such as chautauqua also operated at different points.


With all due respect there is a ton of misinformation here.

AmericanConnection was a marketing banner for the capacity purchase agreement (CPA) regional operations conducted by Trans States and Chautauqua Airlines from the former St. Louis hub. Once STL was fully de-hubbed effective 4/5/2010, the AmericanConnection capacity transitioned to ORD immediately and even triggered an unsuccessful grievance by the American Eagle ALPA MEC.

The TWA employees received occupational seniority commensurate to their career expectations at the time the transaction was consummated. TWA was going to go belly up had AMR not consummated the acquisition and the TWA unions waived the successorship clauses known labor protective provisions (LPPs) in their CBAs in order for the deal to be consummated. Why people today blame AA/AMR, TWU, APFA, and APA and not ALPA and the IAM for waiving these LPPs I will never understand. The AA unions represented the interests of their members at the time, no nAAtive wanted AA to acquire TWs assets.

While many focus on the plight of certain former TWA employees, people don't realize that plenty of nAAtives have had our seniority cheapened-both APA represented pilots thanks to the feathering along with TWU represented classifications in 25% (JFK, LAX, MCO, and several others) and full DOH cities (STL & MCI). There are TWA captains who have taken widebody captain seats (mainly from MIA) from nAAtives who today are flying Airbus, 737, and 757 equipment from other bases.

AA gave the TWA employees on all level full recognition of their company seniority which is used for determining payrates and allocation of vacation.

The only TWA group that was an outright staple job were the flight attendants. While the AA-APFA CBA only guaranteed five year recall rights and some TWA flight attendants did not become recalled, an agreement was reached in late 2007 that extended lifetime recall rights for F/As awaiting recall at that time. Several hundred former TWA F/As were recalled in early 2007 were later furloughed again amidst the downturn in early 2009. The company then tapped the furlough list beginning in late 2010 up through 2012 at which point the company undertook first flight attendant recruiting efforts in nearly 12 years with the first new hire class commencing in January 2013.

Many TWA flight attendants did end up working for American Eagle, however there was no seniority recognition aside from their retention of company seniority. TWA employees later recalled to mainline bid with their requisite classification date along with adjustment(s) for their time on furlough.

Again, people are all too eager to paint AA/AMR/nAAtives in a negative light but gloss over the fact that the TWA employees very own unions abandoned them by relinquishing their contractual rights.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:43 pm
by N983AN
dcaproducer wrote:
jfklganyc wrote:
You experience in STL masked what was happening with TWA. TW was a disaster. JFK was being slashed rapidly. They tried little focus cities in LA and SJU. They were down to two cities in Europe and TLV/CAI

The only reason STL was doing so well is they brought any remaining resources home to that base in the hope of salvaging the airline.

It obviously didnt work.

On to the merger:

1. Bad outside events

2. Two corrupt unions integrating pilots. TW was represented by ALPA. They sold out their own group. Settled for some integration of the top half and staple of the bottom half. They did this in the hopes that APA would switch back to ALPA. ALPA Paid a huge financial settlement after they lost in court when sued by the TW pilots in a class action suit

3. The idea of a hub in St. Louis was a dated one. Harkens back to a time of midwest hubs almost entirely dependent on connections to work

4. AMR was an evil merger company. They had a history of screwing and over anybody they ever bought


The flowback to Eagle was pretty ugly. It involved a lawsuit that set a precedent to a flow thru program: flow thru in one direction could flow back in the other direction.

AA and TW guys got to flow back. I flew with both groups.

The TW guys were great! I cant emphasize that enough. They were getting screwed more ways than you can imagine. They were professional and pleasant with great TW stories. A few scared me with 767 flares in an ERJ!

The AA guys couldnt have been more different...I will leave it at that!

Definitely an ugly time at AMR.

Many of the Eagle FOs hired in 2003 only flowed thru to AA in the last few years!


Even more than any of this was Carl Icahn made it impossible for TWA to make money. Selling off valuable routes, bad fleet decisions, etc.
https://www.businessinsider.com/marc-an ... ine-2014-3

Where the airline industry is today is almost an anomaly in the timeline of aviation history. Many factors have come together to make the industry profitable. In the 70's, 80's and 90's, early 2000's the amount of airline bankruptcy, mergers and going out of business was crazy compared to where we are today. And to say today is the result of all of the consolidation is only partly true. DL, AA, UA still have to compete with WN, AS, B6, NK, F9, and to a lesser extent Allegiant.


Carl Icahn was a symptom of other post deregulation issues at TW, and while his efforts certainly facilitated the carriers distress and ultimately downfall, one needs to take a broader perspective. Frank Lorenzo had also been a suitor but was opposed by the unions who initially welcomed Icahn aboard (TWA management knew better).

TWA became a STL centric airline as they sputtered downward in their final decade, while the airline had always had a significant presence in STL and MCI, it wasn't until after de-regulation and the acquisition of Ozark that STL became TWA's megabase. Icahn facilitated actions like the firesafe of LHR slots to American which generated cash for the airline to continue circling the drain with the money losing STL operation amidst serial bankruptcies, labor strife, an archaic fleet of primarily DC-9 and MD-80 series aircraft and antiquated systems and process well below industry standard throughout the 1990s.

American gave STL more than a fair chance to succeed on multiple occasions by right sizing the hub as has been discussed at length on this forum. The primary issue STL faces is insufficient O&D mix necessary for a healthy hub on a global network hub-spoke carrier. The STL region GDP growth has been consistently below national average for half a century which does not bode well for demand for air travel, which is necessary to generate interest for expanded service by new and incumbent carriers alike. Today airports like AUS, BNA, and RDU are examples of markets that are growing with business climates and the support of business and regional leadership necessary for meaningful air service development.

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:18 pm
by stlgph
(roughly) services from STL on AA in late October 2003 right before the big axe fell
Connection = J31, J41 or ATR

Albuquerque - twice daily
Atlanta - five daily
Austin - three daily
Baltimore - five daily
Bloomington - eight daily (Connection)
Boston - five daily
Burlington - three daily (Connection)
Cape Girardeau - three daily (Connection)
Cedar Rapids - eight daily (mostly 50 seaters)
Champaign - four daily (Connection)
Charlotte - five daily (50 seaters)
Chicago O'Hare - eleven daily
Cincinnati - three daily (50 seaters)
Cleveland - five daily
Colorado Springs - two daily
Columbia (MO) - five daily (Connection)
Columbus - four daily
Dallas Ft Worth - eleven daily
Dayton - five daily (50 seaters)
Decatur - three daily (Connection)
Des Moines - six daily (mix of 50 seaters/jets)
Denver - five daily
Detroit - five daily
Evansville - five daily (Connection)
Fayetteville - six daily (50 seaters, 1 Connection)
Ft Lauderdale - three daily
Ft Leonard Wood - three daily (Connection)
Ft Myers - one daily
Ft Smith - three daily (Conneciton)
Ft Wayne - three daily (Connection)
Hartford - three daily
Honolulu - one daily
Houston Bush - three daily (50 seaters)
Indianapolis - five daily (mix 50 seaters/jets)
Jackson (TN) - two daily (Connection)
Jacksonville - four daily (50 seaters)
Joplin - three daily (Connection)
Kansas City - eight daily
Kirksville - two daily (Connection)
Lafayette - two daily (Connection)
Las Vegas - four daily
Lincoln - four daily (50 seaters)
Little Rock - five daily
London Gatwick - one daily
Los Angeles - six daily (including 767)
Louisville - four daily
Madison - two daily (Connection)
Marion - four daily (Connection)
Memphis - six daily (Connection)
Miami - three daily
Milwaukee - eight daily (50 seaters)
Minneapolis St Paul - five daily
Moline - eight daily (mix 50 seaters/Connection)
Nashville - nine daily (mostly 50 seaters)
Newark - five daily
New Orleans - four daily
New York JFK - two daily
New York LaGuardia - six daily
Norfolk - three daily
Oklahoma City - five daily
Omaha - five daily (mix mainline, 50 seaters)
Orange County - two daily
Orlando - four daily
Owensboro - three daily (Connection)
Quincy - four daily (Connection)
Paducah - three daily (Connection)
Peoria - seven daily (Connection)
Philadelphia - five daily
Phoenix - three daily
Pittsburgh - five daily
Portland - two daily
Raleigh Durham - three daily
Richmond - three daily
Sacramento - two daily
Salt Lake City - three daily
San Antonio - four daily
San Diego - four daily
San Francisco - four daily
San Jose - three daily
San Juan - (mostly) one daily
Seattle - five daily
Shreveport - three daily (50 seaters)
Sioux Falls - four daily (50 seaters)
South Bend - four daily (Connection)
Springfield (IL) - nine daily (Connection)
Springfield/Branson - nine daily (50 seaters)
Tampa - three daily
Toronto - two daily (50 seaters)
Tulsa - four daily
Washington Dulles - four daily
Washington National - six daily
Wichita - five daily (50 seaters)


in November 2003 -

Atlanta - five daily (50 seaters)
Austin - two daily (50 seaters)
Bloomington - three daily (Connection)
Burlington - two daily (Connection)
Cape Girardeau - three daily (Connection)
Cedar Rapids - three daily (Connection)
Champaign - two daily (Connection)
Charlotte - two daily (50 seaters)
Chicago O'Hare - twelve daily
Cincinnati - three daily (Connection)
Colorado Springs - one daily (50 seater)
Columbia (MO) - two daily (Connection)
Columbus - three daily (50 seaters)
Dallas Ft Worth - thirteen daily
Dayton - two daily (50 seaters)
Decatur - three daily (Connection)
Denver - four daily (50 seaters)
Des Moines - three daily (50 seaters)
Evansville - two daily (Connection)
Fayetteville - four daily (50 seaters)
Ft Lauderdale - one daily
Ft Leonard Wood - two daily (Connection)
Ft Myers - one daily
Hartford - two daily (50 seaters)
Indianapolis - three daily (Connection)
Jackson (TN) - one daily (Connection)
Jacksonville - two daily (50 seaters)
Joplin - two daily (50 seaters)
Kirksville - two daily (Connection)
Lafayette - two daily (Connection)
Las Vegas - two daily
Los Angeles - three daily
Madison - one daily (Connecton)
Marion - three daily (Connection)
Memphis - two daily (Connection)
Miami - one daily
Milwaukee - four daily (50 seaters)
Nashville - four daily (50 seaters, 1 Connection)
Newark - four daily (50 seaters)
New York LaGuardia - six daily (mix mainline and 50 seaters)
Norfolk - two daily
Orange County - one daily
Orlando - two daily
Owensboro - two daily (Connection)
Paducah - two daily (Connection)
Peoria - three daily (Connection)
Philadelphia - five daily (50 seaters)
Phoenix - one daily
Pittsburgh - one daily (50 seater)
Quincy - three daily (Connection)
Raleigh Durham - five daily (50 seaters)
San Antonio - two daily (50 seaters)
San Diego - one daily
San Francisco - two daily
Seattle - one daily
Springfield - four daily (Connection)
Springfield/Branson - four daily (Connection)
Washington Dulles - four daily (50 seaters)
Washington National - seven daily (50 seaters)
Wichita - four daily (50 seaters)

Re: History of American's St. Louis Hub

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:56 am
by BigGSFO
I haven't seen anyone mention it yet, but the travel decline after 09/11 probably eliminated any growth plans for STL, if there were any. As traffic declined, STL was sliced down in favor of routing traffic via AA's more established DFW and ORD. Any interest into investing into it further disappeared when AA saw its main competitors reorganize under bankruptcy protection and subsequently merge with each other. They struggled to stay out of BK (some say for far too long) while trying to find network and cost efficiencies. STL was an easy cut (along with SJC, RDU, BNA)