Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
doulasc
Topic Author
Posts: 878
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:12 pm

TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:00 am

Through out the 1960s and 1970s TWA had a major operation at Chicago Ohare in addition to their
smaller hubs at STL and MCI.Then after deregulation TWA downsized at ORD until all they had was
ORD-STL and one ORD-JFK flight to feed the overseas flights from JFK.TWA gave up their ORD-Europe flights
to AA.What happened to TWA at ORD. American and United really grew at ORD in the 1980s.
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19316
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:21 am

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
What happened to TWA at ORD.

Few cities are big enough for 3 major hub-and-spoke carriers.
 
superjeff
Posts: 1385
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:14 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:35 am

I flew LAX-ORD on a TWA Convair 880 in August, 1968. They did have a major operation there. Eventually, they consolidated to STL and gave up most of their gates.
 
rugger
Posts: 394
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:03 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 4:30 am

But if you remember AA and UA before they got their international routes and were just domestic carriers, TW at ORD was of a comparable size. AA and UA back then were predominantly east-west carriers before deregulation. TW was pretty much like that too, but had some international service out of ORD too. TW was big from the NE(NYC/WAS/PHL) to ORD and from ORD to the west coast. If you look at airline route maps before 1977 you'll see what I mean.
 
User avatar
B727skyguy
Posts: 174
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:23 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:10 am

I have an OAG from June 1981 that shows TW operating two flights from ORD to RFD with 727-200 equipment. I had forgotten that TW ever served RFD.
 
User avatar
ADent
Posts: 1147
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:11 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 6:37 am

IIRC before deregulation UA had a hub in Cleveland. After deregulation they consolidated into ORD and turned CLE into a spoke.
 
User avatar
knope2001
Posts: 3036
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:54 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:38 pm

United was head-and-shoulders above the field at O'Hare during deregulation and TWA was one of a handful of airlines with big secondary operations in the shadows. By start of deregulation ORD was (IIRC) at roughly these numbers:

United
190 flights to 50 cities
American
110 flights to 25 cities
TWA
100 flights to 20 cities
Delta
75 flights to 20 cities
Northwest Orient
65 flights to 15 cities

The networks at ORD before regulation were very spotty and specialized. Even big #1 United had almost nothing to the middle and southern tiers of the US --- no Atlanta, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Charlotte Tampa, Kansas City, Dallas, Orlando, Houston, San Antonio, St Louis, New Orleans, Nashville, Miami, Memphis, etc.

O'Hare was still slot controlled so when deregulation came they had the huge advantage of dozens of flights to places like Moline, South Bend, Saginaw, Fort Wayne, etc. which they could drop and use those slots to fill holes in their network.

Why American stayed to fight in O'Hare and TWA, Delta and Northwest did not is largely due to where their other strengths were. TWA had St Louis. Northwest Orient had MSP. Delta's ORD operation was largely one-direction and didn't have good hub potential. But American didn't have any other good options to hub in the region. TWA's O'Hare slots and gates were worth more to sell than to operate and fight for scraps at O'Hare.

[Edited 2015-10-10 06:07:12]
 
jfk777
Posts: 7423
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:23 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:48 pm

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
TWA gave up their ORD-Europe flights
to AA.

TWA did not give up their LHR route to AA, they sold AA the ORD to LHR route for $ 195,000,000. A year or two later AA purchased the rest of TWA's LHR portfolio for $445,000,000 which gave AA JFK, BOS and LAX to LHR. AA & UA were both desperate to fly to London from ORD, even when UA got the Pan AM routes they couldn't fly from ORD.
 
thegoldenargosy
Posts: 618
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:14 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:23 pm

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 6):
American
110 flights to 25 cities
TWA
100 flights to 20 cities

It's too bad TWA gave up ORD for STL. They might've had more success if they had stayed.
 
WA707atMSP
Posts: 1940
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:16 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:11 pm

Quoting thegoldenargosy (Reply 8):
Quoting knope2001 (Reply 6):
American
110 flights to 25 cities
TWA
100 flights to 20 cities

It's too bad TWA gave up ORD for STL. They might've had more success if they had stayed.

Although TWA had a large presence at ORD before deregulation, their routes there were unprofitable because competition was so intense. In 1977, TWA was losing so much money on ORD-LAX that they switched from 4x day L1011 to 2x day all coach 707 - effectively ceding one of the biggest routes out of ORD to UA, AA, and CO.

When the recession and oil price runup hit in 1979, which sharply increased costs and reduced traffic for all airlines, TWA decided they were better off being the dominant airline in a smaller market (STL) instead of bleeding money to compete against UA and AA.
 
User avatar
OzarkD9S
Posts: 5760
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2001 2:31 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:27 pm

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 6):


United
190 flights to 50 cities
American
110 flights to 25 cities
TWA
100 flights to 20 cities
Delta
75 flights to 20 cities
Northwest Orient
65 flights to 15 cities

And the two big Local Service Carriers were roughly:

North Central
71 flights to 13 cities
Ozark
43 flights to 13 cities
"My soul is in the sky". -Pyramus- A Midsummer's Night Dream
 
WA707atMSP
Posts: 1940
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:16 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:36 pm

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 6):
By start of deregulation ORD was (IIRC) at roughly these numbers:

How big was Eastern?

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 6):
But American didn't have any other good options to hub in the region.
AA had a decent presence at both STL and DTW at the start of deregulation, and could have made either city their upper midwest hub in lieu of ORD if they had been willing to devote their resources to do so.

In 1978, AA was strong enough at DTW that moving their main upper midwest hub from ORD to DTW might have been an option. After deregulation, AA added flights from DTW to LAS, SAN, ISP, and PHX. However, the 1979-82 recession hit Detroit so hard that AA subsequently cut their flight schedule at DTW in half over the course of the recession, and even ended DC-10 service at DTW for a while because passenger and belly freight loads on AA's remaining flights had diminished so much. In hindsight, moving their hub from ORD to DTW would have been a disaster for AA, but AA did not know that in 1978. Other airlines were also affected by the recession; it was not until the recession was over that Republic began their big expansion at Detroit.

AA did, however, build their presence at STL for a year or two after deregulation, and at one point studied buying Ozark to further strengthen their presence at STL. However, after the air traffic controllers strike, AA curtailed their operations at STL, apparently deciding they were better off being #2 to UA in a large city (Chicago) than being #2 to TWA at a smaller city (St. Louis).

It's fascinating to think what would have happened if AA had bought Ozark in the early 1980s, though. Would AA have wound down ORD, and focused on STL and DFW, or would they have continued to operate three hubs in the center of the US? Would AA have used Ozark's DC-9-30s at their other hubs? How would an AA-Ozark merger have affected TWA?

[Edited 2015-10-10 15:37:36]
 
Viscount724
Posts: 19316
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:02 pm

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 11):
Quoting knope2001 (Reply 6):
By start of deregulation ORD was (IIRC) at roughly these numbers:

How big was Eastern?

In very early stage of domestic deregulation (November 1979) Eastern had 26 daily nonstops at ORD, plus a Saturday only SJU flight.

ATL 7
CLT 3
FMY 1
GSO 1
IND 1
JAX 1
MIA 3
MCO 4
RDU 1
SJU 1 (Saturday only)
SRQ 1
TPA 3

For comparison, EA ORD schedule on April 1, 1974, 5 years before deregulation. 23 daily nonstops:

ATL 5
BHM 1
CLT 3
FLL 2
GSO 1
JAX 1
MIA 4
BNA 3
MCO 2
TPA 1
 
SFOThinker
Posts: 167
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:13 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:39 am

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 9):


Although TWA had a large presence at ORD before deregulation, their routes there were unprofitable because competition was so intense. In 1977, TWA was losing so much money on ORD-LAX that they switched from 4x day L1011 to 2x day all coach 707 - effectively ceding one of the biggest routes out of ORD to UA, AA, and CO.


TWA also heavily discounted those ORD - LAX flights. I recall them going for $99 when the others were charging perhaps $150.

[Edited 2015-10-10 17:40:48]
 
User avatar
knope2001
Posts: 3036
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:54 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:43 am

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 11):
How big was Eastern?

Eastern was about 25 flights, Braniff about 20, Continental about 15.

If you look at how TWA ranked at O'Hare in big east-west markets they were frequently an also-ran. These are from 1979 so deregulation was being phased in at this point but the numbers aren't too much different than in last years of regulation:

BOS
6 UA 5 AA 4 TW
BDL
5 UA 3 AA 1 TW
LGA
15 AA 12 TW 6 UA
EWR
6 UA 4 AA 4 TW
PHL
6 UA 5 TW
PIT
11 AL 5 UA 3 TW
DCA
9 UA 8 AA 5 TW
MCI
10 TW 5 BN
DEN
7 UA 6 CO 3 TW
SFO
5 UA 5 AA 2 TW
LAX
6 UA 6 AA 1 TW
LAS
5 UA 4 TW
PHX
5 AA 4 TW

Beyond this TW had a few markets with a monopoly or a strong presence such as Harrisburg, Columbus, Wichita and Albuquerque. But Kansas City was the only market of good size where they had much strength. As UA and AA threw resources at O'Hare with deregulation. TW had no chance.

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 11):
In 1978, AA was strong enough at DTW that moving their main upper midwest hub from ORD to DTW might have been an option.

That's an interesting thought - I never considered that. Detroit was pretty evenly split and American's DTW-LGA (12x/day) must have been one of the biggest monopoly markets of the era. From the 1979 OAG on departedflights.com here are the big players at DTW:

Republic
70 flights (59 jets + 11 Convair 580)
39 flights to 12 "big" markets
31 flights to 10 Michigan/Indiana markets

Northwest
39 flights to 9 destinations

Delta
36 flights to 17 destinations

American
31 flights to 10 destinations

United
20 flights to 8 destinations

USAir
15 flights to 8 destinations

Other than their blockbuster LGA market, American's other flights were mostly long haul to the west (where United was stronger) or O'Hare where UA and NW were strong.

I remember reading a few things suggesting American had the weakest hand going into deregulation of the "big" majors because they were also-rans in so many markets but didn't really lead anywhere. Things changed in Dallas when Braniff went under, of course. American could have dumped a lot of resources into someplace like St Louis, or Detroit, or Cincinnati where they had some significant pre-deregulation markets, but they'd probably just have been a significant #2 at best. Chicago is obviously a much bigger pie to get the second slice than someplace like STL or CVG.
 
flyDTW1992
Posts: 1058
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:04 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:02 am

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 14):
Republic
70 flights (59 jets + 11 Convair 580)
39 flights to 12 "big" markets
31 flights to 10 Michigan/Indiana markets

Northwest
39 flights to 9 destinations

Delta
36 flights to 17 destinations

That is quite interesting to look back on. So now, the surviving entity that is those three airlines has about three times that many flights per day at DTW.

But this thread isn't about NWA at DTW so I'll cut my comments short.
Now you're flying smart
 
Chuska
Posts: 412
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 4:59 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Sun Oct 11, 2015 11:10 am

Regarding TWA's strong presence in the O'hare-Albuquerque market, TWA normally ran 4 daily roundtrips in the 1960's and 70's and used an L-1011 in 1974. In 1982 an L-1011 was used one way from ABQ to ORD but the return came from STL. The last ABQ-ORD flight was discontinued on Oct. 29, 1983.
 
CF-CPI
Posts: 1448
Joined: Sat Nov 18, 2000 12:54 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:45 pm

A big reorganization of the TW fleet utilization in 1970, called 'operation clean slate', rationalized the use of aircraft types. ORD became the focus of Convair 880 ops. In 1972-'73 the L1011 got favored treatment.
 
WA707atMSP
Posts: 1940
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:16 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:49 pm

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 14):
I remember reading a few things suggesting American had the weakest hand going into deregulation of the "big" majors because they were also-rans in so many markets but didn't really lead anywhere.

Another major problem TWA and AA had going into deregulation was that neither airline had any two pilot, two crew aircraft that were suited for short haul markets to feed their hubs. TWA sold their few DC-9-10s on the eve of deregulation, and AA had grounded their BAC One-Elevens earlier, so the smallest aircraft both airlines had were 727-100s - which became very uneconomic when fuel prices spiked in 1979. Both airlines also had 75+ 707s that they were using on shorter routes only because they lacked enough smaller aircraft to fly the shorter routes, and they could not afford more efficient aircraft.

United was in only slightly better shape - they had a large fleet of 737s, but UA's labor contracts required UA to fly them with three pilots rather than two. Only in 1981, as UA was hemorrhaging money in the recession, did UA's pilots agree to operate 737s with two person crews.
 
CF-CPI
Posts: 1448
Joined: Sat Nov 18, 2000 12:54 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Sun Oct 11, 2015 3:07 pm

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 18):
AA had grounded their BAC One-Elevens earlier

Much earlier, back in '72. When the first fuel crisis hit in 1973, one AA exec was quoted as saying he regretted not having a smaller twin in the fleet. Picking up a few 737s at that time would have been perfect. 737s sales were so slow at that time that they could have negotiated a good deal from Boeing, but I suspect AA's finances were shaky.

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 18):
Both airlines also had 75+ 707s that they were using on shorter routes only because they lacked enough smaller aircraft to fly the shorter routes, and they could not afford more efficient aircraft.

That's an amazing stat. But looking back, AA shed their 707s much faster - by late 1981 - whereas TWA's soldiered on for another two years.
 
WA707atMSP
Posts: 1940
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:16 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Sun Oct 11, 2015 3:23 pm

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 19):
Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 18):
Both airlines also had 75+ 707s that they were using on shorter routes only because they lacked enough smaller aircraft to fly the shorter routes, and they could not afford more efficient aircraft.

That's an amazing stat. But looking back, AA shed their 707s much faster - by late 1981 - whereas TWA's soldiered on for another two years.

When Braniff ran into financial trouble in 1980, AA purchased Braniff's 15 oldest 727-200s. The deal actually reduced the average age of both airlines' fleets, because AA used the ex-Braniff 727s to replace their even older 707s. Braniff offered TWA up to fifteen 727-200s to help TWA replace their 707s, but TWA chose not to buy them - possibly because TWA was in even worse shape than AA.
 
afcjets
Posts: 3538
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Sun Oct 11, 2015 4:34 pm

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 9):
In 1977, TWA was losing so much money on ORD-LAX that they switched from 4x day L1011 to 2x day all coach 707

I never knew TW had all coach aircraft, where else did they fly them and why? ORD-LAX seems to be a strange market for all coach service especially from an airline with such a vast international network for its day.
 
CF-CPI
Posts: 1448
Joined: Sat Nov 18, 2000 12:54 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:23 pm

Quoting afcjets (Reply 21):
I never knew TW had all coach aircraft, where else did they fly them and why?

This was the beginning of 'super saver' mania:

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1...ch-fares-not-so-super-for-airlines
http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1...ffic-soaring-on-new-discount-fares

TWA's aircraft were 707s configured 6-across all the way through. There was a 'no frills' level that eliminated meal service.

It sounds as if this was all tied in with TWA's increasing difficulties at ORD and the trend towards lower fares to woo the consumer. We know how this all played out, with dereg just around the corner.
 
User avatar
compensateme
Posts: 3279
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:17 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:11 pm

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 11):
In 1978, AA was strong enough at DTW that moving their main upper midwest hub from ORD to DTW might have been an option. After deregulation, AA added flights from DTW to LAS, SAN, ISP, and PHX. However, the 1979-82 recession hit Detroit so hard that AA subsequently cut their flight schedule at DTW in half over the course of the recession, and even ended DC-10 service at DTW for a while because passenger and belly freight loads on AA's remaining flights had diminished so much. In hindsight, moving their hub from ORD to DTW would have been a disaster for AA, but AA did not know that in 1978. Other airlines were also affected by the recession; it was not until the recession was over that Republic began their big expansion at Detroit.

A 1980 Detroit Free Press article on the eve of ATL's opening details the problems with DTW: in order to lure airlines from YIP/consolidate into a single airport, DTW offered a 50-year lease that gave airlines' veto power over capex projects. The airport was already over capacity, and simply could not expand because the airlines' opposed it. The airport acknowledged that it had been approached from "multiple" airlines desiring to hub* there, but no solution could be reached.

The "solution" ultimately was that Republic Airlines spent a few hundred million of its own money (including the issuance of several bonds, at least one in which the remainder was disposed in NW's bankruptcy many years later) acquiring & building out the space necessary to hub there. But it was until the emergence of PFC that DTW was able to successfully expand & grow as a hub.

BTW, that 50-year lease didn't end until late 2008 -- the same time the L.C. Smith Terminal closed & the North Terminal opened. Now you know why  

*before anybody says "why Detroit" ... in 1980, Metro Detroit was one of the largest communities in the country, and ranked #2 in discretionary income. The world was a much different place, in other words.
We don’t care what your next flight is.
 
User avatar
Tomassjc
Posts: 730
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:38 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:46 am

Quoting afcjets (Reply 21):

I never knew TW had all coach aircraft, where else did they fly them and why?

When I was at TWA at ALX in '78-79 there were a couple 707-331Bs configured to 174Y. There were 2 roundtrip LAX-ORD non stops and one LAX-LAS-ORD roundtrip. I remember that the latter allowed for a 707 LAS day trip as it left LAX early in the morning and returned from LAS in the evening.

Tomas SJC
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward -Leonardo DaVinci
 
TW870
Posts: 1273
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:01 am

RE: TWA At ORD

Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:32 am

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 14):
If you look at how TWA ranked at O'Hare in big east-west markets they were frequently an also-ran.

By 1979, it was really too late for TWA in Chicago. What United understood so well was that the economy of the country was changing, and that ORD was going to be a much more important than the other rust belt markets where UA, AA, and TW all had sizable operations. UA built ORD into a huge operation during regulation in the 60s and 70s. I think the key to TWA's long-term viability would have been to keep a strong #2 position at ORD. Granted, as others have posted on here, facilities were the problem, as the G-concourse was just too small when compared to UA and AA's larger facilities. But even if TWA had to unload airplanes out on the cargo apron and bus people to their connecting flights, it would have been worth it. STL and PIT were shrinking economies, and trying to compete against AA and UA with those hubs/focus cities was just not going to produce the revenue necessary to be a big post-deregulation player.

It is interesting though that by number of departures, ORD was TWA's largest station up until probably 1981 or so. It is easy to forget that...
 
afcjets
Posts: 3538
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:52 am

Quoting TW870 (Reply 25):
It is interesting though that by number of departures, ORD was TWA's largest station up until probably 1981 or so. It is easy to forget that...

It is also easy to forget TWA turned ATL into a mini-hub in the early 1990s, because it didn't last for very long.

[Edited 2015-10-11 20:53:31]
 
midway7
Posts: 292
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2004 10:24 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:48 am

The ATL hub was right after EA shut down for good, and right before Valujet. Neat little operation. Mainly low yield flows north - south Florida and DC9-30's. Set up on a few gates in the then vacant C concourse. Give them a A for effort, but they never really had much of a chance.

As for ORD, here is my recollection of the pull down.

In the early 1980's, TW had the entire G concourse, with the exception of G1, which was AC. There is an interesting story here for another time.

Around 1985, UA was using at least 4 gates on the west side of G. This would remain until the new Terminal one opened in 1987. OZ had one gate on the west side of G. US had one gate on the east side, G5 i believe. TW had the rest, and now down about half the number of gates originally.

After UA vacated in the summer of 1987, some others moved in for a while. I remember one reincarnation of Braniff using G2 and G4 for some time.

Not sure when, but AA started moving in before 1990. They started with Eagle on the east side of G, and eventually took over the entire concourse. Before they remodeled it, to what we know today, they ran mainline out of there. Even parked widebodies on G12.

A little history for those of you into this sort of thing.

Midway 7
 
747400sp
Posts: 3900
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 7:27 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:25 pm

Hello

I remember, flying into ORD in the mid 80's, as a kid. I was on an AA DC10 from DFW, and I remember seeing a TWA 747 on the ground.
 
User avatar
727tiger
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 11:22 pm

RE: TWA At ORD

Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:39 pm

My first TWA flight, and first flight into ORD, was in February 1979, MCI-ORD-PHL on a 707. Returned to MCI from PHL later that week via STL, also on a 707.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos