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» Smilin' Jack   » Specific Airline Discussions   » TWA   » TWA: The End of the Story... (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: TWA: The End of the Story...
nyc6035
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TWAnr's topic on the FA contract changes has compelled me to summarize the AMR acquisition of TWA as it now stands. Let me know if I've got it right:

-TWA Management and Clerical ranks - gone
-TWA Norfolk Res - gone
-TWA FAs - soon to be gone
-TWA Pilots - gone (except for a few hundred dovetailed)
-TWA 767s - gone
-TWA 757s - gone by 2007
-TWA DC9-30s - gone
-TWA 717s - gone
-TWA STL Hub - ?
-TWA JFK Maintenance - gone
-TWA gate agents - busted to Part Time or Gone

So whats left...what did AMR keep:
-TWA MCI Maintenance
-TWA pilots (a few hundred dovetailed)
-approx. 100 TWA MD80s
-TWA Gates - a few
-TWA Slots - quite a lot
-TWA route authority- quite a few but not using many of them.
-Worldspan & the $ they're selling it for.
-TWA STL reservations (?)

So for $742MM AMR bought out a competitor, kept the compatable MD80s, a few pilots to fly them and some slots to land them + a return on their investment via the Worldspan sale.

I think it's fair to say this has turned out even worse than I initially feared when I first heard the news on January 8, 2001.

I do hope that everyone of the TWA folks find the fortitute to get through the pain that is currently being inflicted on them.

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L1011Ret
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From two great airlines, one great future - to this. It is a very, very sad day for all TWA LLCers.
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Gary S
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There's one small item left off of the "RETAINED" side of the ledger:

The (ex)TWA passengers

[ 04-01-2003, 17:23: Message edited by: Gary S ]

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Jeff I.
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Mike -

Your list provides a stark and depressing reality to the ending of the TWA story. Somehow I can't help but think other alternatives, even if they ultimately wouldn't have saved TWA in the long-term, might have provided a more dignified and appropriate ending for TWA.

Gary -

You are right about ex-TWA passengers. And given the human fallout from TWA, I'm feeling increasingly squeamish about giving AA my business ---- lifetime miles and status notwithstanding.

Jeff I.

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twaokc
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I know this will upset some people, but I hope Compton is enjoying his RETIREMENT. AA gets the planes, the gates, the slots, but not the people. It is all they wanted to start with.
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ACMECH
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Do Not forget the mechanics American laid off from the TWA side too. I got the ax about a year and a half ago, and I have not seen a plane since.

Now I am glad I do not work for any airline especially American. I now work on light rail trains. The wages are comparable to the starting wages at a major airline. No sense and looking back and asking what if? I will just keep looking forward in my new career. [Smile]

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extwacaptain
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quote:
Originally posted by twaokc:
I know this will upset some people, but I hope Compton is enjoying his RETIREMENT. AA gets the planes, the gates, the slots, but not the people. It is all they wanted to start with.

With today’s news, I doubt that Captain Compton is really enjoying his retirement any more than many others who equally loved this airline and the employees.

I feel certain that he believed the sale of TWA to American, some two years ago, was in the best interest of every one working for our company. ( Many shared this positive attitude at that time.)

No poster on this or any other board could have forecast the events, which have SINCE occurred in this world. Who among us predicted the 9-11 attack? Who knew for certain that the economy would continue in a strong downward trend? And who, two years ago, would have known about this war with Iraq? We didn’t know, did we? But, for some reason we expected Captain Compton to be some sort of a fortune-teller. Obviously if he had known what was about to happen to United, US Air and American, he would have played his hand a bit differently…..But, he didn’t know that and neither did WE.

Our troubles are NOT the result of Captain Bill Compton. Some of those last few years of TWA’s survival were thanks to his leadership and the loyalty of the employees and passengers… [Smile]

Randy Kramer

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Bob Ritchie
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Randy,

Well said. Thank you.

Bob R.

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Bewildered
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The only consolation about the dismemberment of TWA was that there is enough blame to go around.
Management or lack of, the Unions who were more interested in dues than the members, the employees that espoused no concessions and that we ought to shut this place down, etc.. You shut it down all right.
The difference between TWA & AA? At AA both management and the Unions recognized the reality of the situation. At TWA no one would step up.
Everyone was worried about Icahn dismanteling the Company. Why? We did it ourselves.
AA never wanted TWA. They just didn't want anyone else to get it.
Why this discussion? History does repeat itself. Look at UAL. Same managment style, same unions for the most part and same employee attitude.

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Life_Platinum
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nyc6035, also add to the list of things that are gone
1. 6 relatively new AS MD-80s that were cancelled.
2. The Airbus 318 Order
3. Terminal 5 at JFK
4. A number of TW MD 80s that are stored.
5. Large number of TWA Frequent Flyers

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nyc6035
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ACMech,

Sorry, I did leave out the line station mechanics from that list. I am glad to hear that you've been able to find other opportunities to apply your skills to.

Capt. Randy,

Indeed, who would have thought on that sunny Tuesday morning when we met at LAX just one week prior to Sept. 11 of all of the horror and wrenching change that would soon take place? I sometimes think of that last TWA trip home to NY that day as the final chapter in an age of simpler times, when flying (as a passenger) was still fun.

Would AA have done things differently sans the attacks in NY and Washington...I do suppose the answer is yes. I think at the end of the day events accelerated the changes AA made. I think in the end AA would have liked to continue to grow or at least more fully absorb the TWA capacity. In the end the aircraft would have been gone and I suspect we would have seen many more 737s in AAs fleet as the TWA equipment transitioned out. And the TWA pilots, agents and FAs would have by and large continued working.

That said, where we are now is a very sad place indeed. I fully expect the LLC will be history probably by September 30th, with whatever aircraft haven't been converted 'benched' until they move over the fence. No need for significant lift in the Fall and Winter.

I do hope the economy significantly recovers quickly and folks get back to work flying soon. That said, I'm struck by the thought that the 'winners' in the airline wars of the past are by no means assured of victory in the future. I do hope AA succeeds going forward so many of the TWA folks can again work the skies, I'm just not so sure that the product they're offering the public assures their success.

Regards,
Mike

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Draginitin
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In case no one sees what's happening, Carty is shifting domestic flying OUT of AA and over to even lower paid AE, just like all the majors. I wouldn't count on ANY job coming back to AA. In fact count on more furloughs and attacks on retirement. Finned-in TWA captains are incredibly lucky.

[ 04-02-2003, 10:52: Message edited by: Draginitin ]

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Jeff I.
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A while back I threw out something to which nobody responded. Basically I was curious if any of the pilots on this board who were friends with Captain Compton were in touch with him and if they were, I was wondering what his feelings were after seeing the fallout from all of this. The reason I bring this up is not to rekindle the debate from two years ago. Rather --- I am genuously interested to see if he feels betrayed by his good faith dealings with AA.

To pick up on what Randy stated and what I have always expressed, I believe Bill Compton had the best interests of TWA employees at heart when he entered into the deal with AA. I've got to believe he is not at all "enjoying" his retirement given how his former colleagues have been treated over the past two years.

Personally .... my only criticism would be that I think he was a tad naive in dealing with AA in such good faith given the track record of AA over the years in ALL their other dealings. Clearly no one could have predicted the avalanche of events that have negatively impacted the entire industry. At the same time, I do have it from a reliable source that less than two months after the announcement (before the acquisition was officially approved), Compton had expressed serious doubts and reservations over the deal once AA got into high gear on their "plans" for the airline.

I would think at some point a most interesting book could be written about all of this. Mike, Marky, Donuway, Bobs H. & R., LP ??????

Jeff I.

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TWA Fan 1
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quote:
Originally posted by Gary S:
There's one small item left off of the "RETAINED" side of the ledger:

The (ex)TWA passengers

I can assure you that this fanatically loyal ex-TWA passenger who would do virtually anything to fly TWA (including, one time spending a night in Paris to connect to my destination in Ireland) has not been retained by AMR.

Why not? Because where TWA valued its passengers and demonstrated it in the most concrete terms, AMR makes it painfully obvious that--while it loves my money--it sees me as an unfortunate nuisance necessary to line its pockets with said money.

Sure, I'll fly AA when absolutely necessary; otherwise I'll fly on virtually any other airline, have a more pleasant experience and get more value for it.

The value for the frequent flyer is worse on AA than any competitor, from the miserly upgrade policy to the outrageously overpriced Admirals Club (and no free booze) to the lack of American Express Membership Miles.

Nothing AA has done has made the passenger feel more valued than in its "bad old" heyday when AA was notorious for its abusive treatment of passengers (myself included on numerous occasions).

The sad part for this TWA admirer is how little influence the terrific TWA people were allowed to have in the bigger company.

I continued to fly LLC while there was still a definable entity. But now that there is no more TWA, I'll only fly AA when there is no other choice.

[ 04-02-2003, 20:00: Message edited by: TWA Fan 1 ]

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L1011Ret
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I don't think I know you TWA FAN 1 but I do know that it is AA loss that you do not fly with them. Be well.
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TWA Fan 1
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quote:
Originally posted by L1011Ret:
I don't think I know you TWA FAN 1 but I do know that it is AA loss that you do not fly with them. Be well.

Thanks for the kind words L1011Ret.

I also want to make it clear that my comments about AA, while accurately expressing my feelings about the airline as a business, do not reflect on the individual people at AA.

I have absolutely no animosity at all against the folks at AA and I wish them the best of luck.

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Jeff I.
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TWA Fan 1 -

I agree with your comment here re: the vast majority of AA employees I have encountered. In fact, yesterday I had a very nice flight from LGA-ORD. Everyone from the person who checked me in, to the Admirals Club receptionist I dealt with, to the FA's and pilots were friendly and very attentive. The only thing that caused me some amount of squeamishness was the age of one of the flight attendants covering FC. Don't get me wrong, she was very friendly and provided excellent service. But I couldn't help thinking about the 30-year TWA FA's with families whose livelihood was cut off by furlough while these much younger and less experienced FA's (many without a family to support) are still working the flights. To reiterate your comments ---- this is not a criticism of the AA employees but rather the management who has set the tone and put the wheels in motion for the dismantling of TWA.

Jeff I.

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nyc6035
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Jeff,

I agree with you. I took the LGW-STL flight about two weeks ago (basically to try out the new two-class service) and a part of me did feel quite guilty taking a flight with much less senior staff working a route that by all rights should be serviced by among the most senior TWA FAs and flight crew. Don't get me wrong the Chicago based crew provided a great service (much improved over J class on a typical AA three-class flight), but it just didn't seem right.

BTW Jeff, why the sudden display name change?

Regards,
Mike

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TWA Fan 1
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I agree that AA's people are generally perfectly attentive. But I have found that the people I've run into on CO, NW, DL, etc. are as attentive, and there I can get much more value for my dollar (more liberal upgrades, AMEX membership miles, free airline lounge membership with AMEX platinum).

As far as TWA is concerned, even I would never have imagined that the AA/LLC integration would have created a sea change in the AA corporate culture. But TWA had a seven-decade tradition of customer service, a certain grace and class that AA could have picked up on and which would have added value to the AA product.

Obviously, AA was not interested and made their lack of interest pretty obvious.

Now all that is lost forever. AA's people are not only generally younger (there are, of course, experienced AA F/A's) but the AA corporate culture, coming out of the pre-Bob Crandall airline as a mid-level domestic carrier never put the emphasis on customer service that was the hallmark of TWA.

Now that AA has virtually shed all of TWA, how about selling off the rights to the name for some extra cash and allowing TWA to rise from the ashes?

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Life_Platinum
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Jeff, my spin on what and why Bill Compton did what he did is perhaps a little different from you, Captain Randy and others who knew him far better than I. I agree that what he thought he was hoping to accomplish was in the best interest of TWA employees. However, part of the CEO's job is to understand the business that one is in. In the airline business, there are good times and then there are the bad times. Captain Bill knew the good times well, even though they were not so good for TWA. He also had experienced the bad times, having been laid off when the airline industry took a down turn (wasn't it twice he was laid off?). There also were signs of the sickness that was creeping into the market place in the form of a number of airlines not doing well financially and the rising employee salaries of some of the current sick six. LUV continued to expand, JetBlue was getting started, Airtran had forced TW out of the ATL mini-hub and continued to grow, and the once profitable International routes were dominated by national airlines with low cost employees. If I had been in a cyclic business like the airlines, I would have been concerned about the next dip, and would have a strategy for that dip. My point is that if a dip in business were to occur, and CEO worth his salary should have a plan ready. He also should have known AA's track record with other carriers they swallowed and where these employees were on the seniority lists if he was pitching that AA take over his airline.
You may argue that Don Carty probably hadn't prepared AA for such a downturn, and I agree. You can see I don't think very highly of Don Carty, but it seems to me a sharp airline executive should have been able to position TWA well with AA. I believe that although Captain Bill tried to do the right thing for TWA employees, neither he nor his support staff had the skill or ability to pull it off. This comes back to why Captain Bill got to be CEO-he was the best person who would take the job, and his vision on how to save TWA was as flawed as any of those who previously had led our favorite airline.

Suppose that Herb Kelleher or Gordon Bethune were CEO in charge of TWA at that time. Do you think they would have done what Captain Bill had done on January 9? Would they have tried to continue to go it alone? We can only speculate, but we did know that TWA had significant assets they could have sold, and TWA employees had intense loyalty to the company. Would Gordo have given Captain Bill advice on what to do as part of his proposal to acquire some TWA assets?

Its all past history now and we will never know unless Captain Bill decides to write about his experiences. I do grieve for those many TWA people who made flying enjoyable for me and our family. Although I am very appreciative of the what they have done for us, I have moved on and have substituted things other than TWA to now remember and enjoy. However, I do still try to fly thru STL any chance I get for the next few months even though I may have to rough it and not be able to use the Club.

Then there are the TWA stockholders such as yourself. In my view a CEO's first responsibility is to the stockholders, and in this role Captain Bill failed miserably.

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donuway
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Jeff,

You think Don Carty will let us use the TWA name to publish a book about this [Confused] [Razz]

We have communicated about the old TWA upper managements whereabouts before. Except for Markys flight with Mr. Gittner, it seems most have vanished. I too find it strange that none of them have surfaced to comment on the current plight of the exTWAers. I also realize that these big corporate buyout/takeover things usually come with some confidentiality agreements that are probably being well adhered to, if not overly adhered too?

Your comment about Bills reservations about the deal hit me as strange as I was right there on 12-2-01 at gate of the "last" TWA flight. Bills words were, and this was post 9-11, "I'm, sure most of you will be just fine",,,under Don Carty etc.... I'm sure he wonders now if he said the right thing,,,,,or at least wondered what on earth happened?

Don

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Jeff I.
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LP -

I agree with you on the role of a CEO, responsibility to shareholders, etc. I commented extensively on that during the few months after the takeover and have sort of exhausted myself on that subject. From my brief meeting with Captain Compton he struck me as being a very fine man, committed wholeheartedly to TWA, a devoted pilot and champion of the industry, etc. All of these qualities, stellar though they were, did not necessarily translate into the skill set needed to be an effective CEO. For those pilots on the board who are friends with Bill, please don't misconstrue this as an attempt to trash Mr. Compton in any way. Rather --- it is an attempt to look objectively (and now with some needed distance) on what transpired to lead to the demise of TWA.

Further --- I do respect the silence exhibited by those who might be in contact with him. Clearly, an internet board, even one as distinguished as Jack's, is not the place to post private discussions.

My speculation is that Captain Compton must be heartbroken at the plight of the vast majority of his former colleagues. Unlike an Icahn or many others, he just doesn't seem to be the type to take the money and run without giving a damn about the consequences.

I will say this, though, for many of us who expressed strong skepticism about the takeover when it was announced and in the months following, we were crucified on the boards by AA people and many in the TWA camp. I would rather have been proven wrong in all of this but I do think a rather simple lesson is obvious. A leopard doesn't change its spots and for those of us who warned against putting the ultimate fate of TWA in the hands of AA given their track record over the decades, I think the facts speak for themselves. I'd much prefer to be eating crow right now if it meant there was a rosy future for TWA'ers.

Jeff I.

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L1011Ret
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I worked for Bill when he was MEC Chairman. I very much respected both him and his abilities. I would bet knowing him that he is brokenhearted about this outcome.
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Kirkpatrick
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quote:
Originally posted by TWA Fan 1:
Now that AA has virtually shed all of TWA, how about selling off the rights to the name for some extra cash and allowing TWA to rise from the ashes?

Because it wouldn't be TWA.

MK

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TWA Fan 1
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Because it wouldn't be TWA.

MK

What made TWA was the people, nothing more, nothing less. The best, most resourceful, professional people in the airline industry.

Any airline that would allow them to do their job would be TWA.

After all, think about all the iterations TWA went through, from Howard Hughes to mega-conglomerate dominant world airline, to Carl Icahn's Killing Field, to the broke but scrappy (and excellent) post-Icahn decimation.

Through thick and thin, riches to rags, it was always TWA.

Think of it, you wouldn't even need the TWA name, just the terrific people.


[Smile]

[ 04-03-2003, 21:50: Message edited by: TWA Fan 1 ]

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TWA Fan 1
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My comment on Bill Compton's decision to allow TWA to be acquired by AMR:

Hindsight is 20/20 but if anyone in the fall of 2000--when the AA/TWA deal was being hashed out-- had suggested that AMR would have lost over $5 billion by early 2003 they would have been laughed out of the room.

AA ran the most successful and profitable ship in the business. Its employees had the best wages and the most stability of any in the U.S. airline industry.

Allowing TWA to be acquired by AA meant a significant pay raise for a substantial number of TWA employees.

As you know the TWA board had concluded by the spring of 2000 that running TWA as an independent entity would no longer be feasible. Of the options available, acquisition by AMR certainly seemed like the most appealing for TWA's employees.

Bill Compton was not a "professional" CEO in the mold of Harvard MBA Donald Carty or Wharton School MBA Robert Crandall. But I don't believe that any other manager would have done differently as the AMR option was the most compelling.

As many of you know, I have never liked the corporate governance style of AMR. In my opinion, much of the success at AA has come through bullying tactics, dirty tricks, price fixing, competition crushing, blatant political favoritism.

And one of the hallmarks of AMR since Crandall has been the confrontational labor/management relations, which has translated into a profoundly unfriendly workplace (just ask the LLC employees).

I don't find it surprising that when trouble hit, AMR did everything in its power to scuttle LLC.

One could argue that Compton should have weighed this issue of AMR's unsavory corporate governance before he made a deal.

But hindsight is 20/20; what we has supposed to do instead, make a deal with JAG?

I don't blame Bill Compton one bit. I credit him for revitalizing TWA on no money at all, for making a deal that he had good reason to believe would protect his colleagues by folding them into the most successful U.S. airline, for selecting what seemed like the best possible option for TWA.

But I do blame Don Carty and the management at AA for being arrogant and painfully rigid in their management style, for allowing AA and its LLC subsidiary to whither when the solution for AA was to adopt many of the measures that made TWA (absent Karabu) the most successful business model in the airline industry.

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Jeff I.
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TWA Fan 1 -

I agree with most of what you say. My one point of disagreement relates to an argument you have made on several occasions here: namely, that TWA had the most successful business model in the industry minus Karabu.

I'm not at all blaming Compton on this because, in fact, I believe he did many things to try and overcome the failed TWA business model that was hatched long before he was the helm. Karabu was part of the problem but by no means the only problem. For years TWA had a very disturbing trend with a decreasing revenue model due to their radical cuts in routes, etc. and a cost model that couldn't be slashed fast enough to compensate for their inability to generate revenue. Compton's predecessors basically believed that a rapid shrink-to-one-hub, midwestern niche carrier was the only way to save TWA. In the meantime, the brand name suffered dramatically and was confused by the traveling public, and .... this model prevented them from reaping the revenue rewards during the flush years of the industry.

I do agree that TWA's last-ditch model, ironically, may now look more logical in the post-9/11 era. But ---- that was not the era Gitner and others were dealing with. In his last months as CEO, I think Compton was thinking outside the box as to how TWA might survive in a changing landscape for the airline industry ..... one in which I think he understood the economics were changing, hub and spoke perhaps not being the only model for a major carrier, etc. I know Compton was considering implementing some point-to-point flying. It would have been interesting to see how some of this would have played out.

But, as always, thanks for your comments. On most things I'm always in total agreement with you.

Jeff I.

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TWA Fan 1
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Jeff I.,

First, let me specify that you know a lot more about TWA and the airline industry than me. I defer to your knowledge and savvy.

My sense about the slash and burn cost cutting that decimated TWA in the last ten years of its existence is that it is unlikely that there would have been a viable alternative without significant investment capital pouring into the operation, investment capital that was extremely unlikely to be brought to the table as long as TWA had an obligation to Icahn.

It is certainly arguable that TWA fell below the threshold of growth potential with its single hub, its diminished and hobbled JFK operation, and its vastly diminished LAX operation.

But so long as TWA was losing so much money and operating on fumes as a cash flow operation was there really a choice?

The value of the TWA brand with the larger flying public was very low in the last decade of TWA's existence and even once TWA's operations improved there was little shift of perception outside a relatively small core of business travellers.

All of this is true but it essentially takes us back to the same place: Carl Icahn. Icahn was the one who pillaged TWA in the first place, who sold off its most valuable international routes (to AA), who saddled TWA with hundreds of millions of debt, who tore apart the airline's corporate culture and left the flying public with the impression that TWA was an old, broken down, unreliable and unfriendly airline.

That's not to say that everything Gitner et al was perfect, far from it. But I think, given the hand they were dealt, they did a pretty good job of revitalizing TWA.

They improved the airline's operational record dramatically (to the point where it was the best in the industry), they largely modernized the fleet (at the end TWA had the youngest fleet of any U.S. airline), they improved customer service to the point where TWA consistently won J.D. Power survey for frequent flyer satisfaction (a survey AA has never won, by the way).

Even without 12 years of financial losses it would have been hard to do better. Of course, this was largely a tribute to the terrific line employees of TWA, but management, especially Compton, deserve their share of the credit.

Still TWA lost money. Karabu was a complete drag on their operation, not only severly limiting revenues but also tremendously increasing costs such as aircraft leases and (with too little cash on hand) keeping TWA from hedging fuel purchases.

Once the TWA management and directors realized that the revitalized TWA was not going to be profitable so long as Karabu was in force, they felt their best option was to find the best possible acquirer. And who better than AA in the fall of 2000?

Nobody is sadder than me to see TWA gone. Nobody is sadder than me to see the great TWA people thrown on the street, probably in violation of Federal labor laws.

At the same time, there are few airline customers who dislike AA more than me. So to see TWA gobbled up by AA and then spit out like a fish bone is about as depressing as one can imagine.

But was there a better choice in the fall of 2000?

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LATREAL
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If we only could do it all over again. [Wink] [Confused]
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TWA Fan 1
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quote:
Originally posted by LATREAL:
If we only could do it all over again. [Wink] [Confused]

The most painful irony for me is that TWA rejected Frank Lorenzo in favor of the white knight Carl Icahn.

Lorenzo was definitely much worse. But, as it turned out, he was so bad that he got forced out of Continental more quickly, before he could do the harm that Icahn ended up doing to TWA (the fate of Eastern Airlines is another story, of course).

TWA without Carl Icahn would have been a completely different airline, profitable throughout the nineties and able to invest to build its operation.

Carl Icahn not only destroyed TWA he personally pocketed hundreds of millions of dolars plundered on the back of TWA shareholders and employees.

He ranks up there as one of the all-time corporate villains.

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donuway
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Life Platinum,

In Regards to your remarks about Bill Compton and his CEO abilities, ie. reading the industry, etc. Let's jump to the other side of the fence for a moment,,,CEO Don Carty. What do you think was going through Don Carty's mind during all of this? This was pre 9-11, but as you stated, the economy and airline business was already in a slump. What did he think adding 20% more capacity to his airline would do?

Of course if you set it up as it was set up, you can get rid of your screw up, and a competitor, in a worst case senario like we have now. Remember, even without TWAllc, AA can still be the biggest with the cuts at United.

The 748? million AA gave for TWA is dwarfed by the last 2 years losses. What I'm trying to say is, unless Dons cohorts think LLC is the REASON for their losses, basically dumping all of the capacity they bought with TWA is what is happening. They could simply say it only cost them a sixth of their losses in the last few years to get rid of a competitor, and gain a hub.

If either of these two CEOs was nearsighted in this deal, I think it was Don Carty, unless he knew EXACTLY what he was doing, with 9-11 rushing things a bit.

As I was typing this, my phone rang. A woman was on the other end, needing my companies services, but sounded a little desperate as she only had a debit card to pay us. She was in a hotel, and as I started to "qualify" her for cash, as we say in our business, I found out she is a displaced Norfolk, VA Agent. Naturally, she didn't have all of what she needed to be "properly " qualified, but she is ExTWA,,,she gets preference. [Smile]

Don

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ottakat
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donuway...

I hope that not too many ex-TWA ex-Norfolk Res people are in need of your services whatever they may be but I suspect there may be more.

Today, April 4, was the Norfolk Reservations Office last day. That was once the "newest and most efficient" reservations office TWA had, according to Compton at the time of TWA's purchase by AA, but after AA came in morale slumped. TWA passenger help procedures were tossed out the window and 180 seconds was the time agents were now allowed to be on the phone with customers. Take more time with a customer than that and the agent was often (if caught by the phone monitors) given a reprimand. Speed, not service was the AA watchword. Take lots of calls and to hell with the customer! Not TWA service, but AA "efficiency!"

Some long service TWA agents are able to transfer to STL, and some long service agents that qualified took retirement and the rest of the agents who couldn't qualify for transfer or retirement are dumped on to the street.

No, I was never employed by either TWA or AA but I have many friends in Norfolk who were. Some have said to me that they often felt they were not accepted as equals by AA personnel sent to supervise them when the TWA supervisors were fired and many were sure their office was next on AA's hit list just because they were ex-TWA. So right.

Sic transit gloria!

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L1011Ret
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I do not know the outcome of this, but I understand that Senators Clinton, Schumer, Bond and Talent forced through a measure to have a hearing on the integration of TWA into AA. Supposedly Carty became very upset and threatened to shut down STL. Carty's demeanor was characterized by one Senator as "outrageous and childish." Making threatening statements to the Congress is at a minimum "bad form."
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TWA Fan 1
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quote:
Originally posted by ottakat:
TWA passenger help procedures were tossed out the window and 180 seconds was the time agents were now allowed to be on the phone with customers. Take more time with a customer than that and the agent was often (if caught by the phone monitors) given a reprimand.

AA has always basically been a gilded sweatshop. Why else do you think so many of the employees at AA are so angry all the time?

And, in some respects, a gilded sweatshop is worse than your ordinary sweatshop because you're making good enough money not to want to move on.

T1

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Jeff I.
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Don -

I agree with you re: Carty's motives on the acquisition. Right up there among his priorities was, in my opinion, the belief that acquiring TWA could eventually be used to cut capacity in the industry (translation: scale back TWA's routes and people to virtually nothing). In the short term this would have happened (and did) in the Caribbean. It's been stated a few times on this board but worth repeating that AA has been estimated to have reaped in the hundreds of millions of additional revenue in the Caribbean in the months after the takeover. In the long term (prior to 9/11), I'm sure Carty believed they would gain slots and gates at JFK, LGA & DCA to enhance their east coast business, pick up a midwestern hub and all at the same time removing a competitor and ultimately decreasing overall capacity in the industry.

TWA Fan 1 -

Agree with you that all roads always come back to Icahn when assessing the main factors behind TWA's demise. That said, I've always maintained that even with the fallout from Icahn, TWA had a 50/50 chance to turnaround with the proper management decisions in the 1990's. I differ with you in my assessment on this and believe that pre-Compton/post-Icahn CEO's were all pretty bad.

LP -

In rereading your post, now that I've got my gander up a bit, I will agree with you on that aspect of Compton's performance as CEO. In all honesty, my stock losses on TWA were not that big of a deal. But ----- when one looks at the agreement signed by TWA to cave in to AA's demand that they declare bankruptcy in order to get rid of Karabu, there really was a healthy dose of cynicism on Compton's part to sell out the shareholders in such an unequivocal way. Bob H. and others have commented on the state of TWA's finances at the time. They may have been headed south but were not at the point of bankruptcy at that time. Clearly, AA rammed this through, threatened to pull the offer without it, etc., etc. In my heart I believe Compton's intent was to take care of TWA employees. But ---- that is only component of the responsibility of a CEO --- and necessarily the main one. So ---- intended or not ---- in my opinion it was a very cynical move. And it gnaws again when one sees that this decision ultimately didn't save the employees, either.

Jeff I.

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TWA Fan 1
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Jeff I.

Absolutely agreed about TWA's management team pre-Compton. But let's face it, most airlines have management that is about equivalently poor and have nevertheless been able to be profitable because they didn't have the Karabu ball and chain.

My point is that the handicap of Karabu made it almost necessary for TWA to have the lowest cost, highest load factor, smartest management team simply in order to survive.

It was a tall order and presented an unrealistic set of expectations.

While I, probably more than anyone else, wishes TWA had survived I think TWA's management and directors accurately concluded after the final operational turnaround that the airline was unviable.

Why? Because the airline was operating as well as reasonable possible (based on-time arrival, load factor, completion percentage, etc.) and was still losing a lot of money.

Although shareholders were left by the wayside, it is not inconceivable that, had TWA attempted to continue as an indepedent, it would have failed shortly after January 8, 2001 and shareholders would have lost anyway; anyone who invested in TWA since the late eighties, in any case, was fully aware of the risks involved.

TWA's management team made its share of mistakes. But they had no wiggle room. Not only were they paying a huge "cut" to Icahn, but the amount and length of the Karabu committment meant that TWA was extremely unattractive to potential investors.

And without cash there was no way TWA could have made the necessary acquisitions to its infrastructure and route system to reach the minimum operational threshold to be profitable.

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MrMarky
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Hi Jeff and TWA Fan 1,

If memory serves me well, the Karabu agreement was set to expire this September, scarcely a few months from now.

As far as TWA's survivability, had AA not embarked on this ill-fated and ill-advised acquisition and instead entered into a code-share agreement with TWA, it might have generated enough additional revenue for TWA to offset the Karabu fiasco, and it would have been providing much needed additional revenue to AA as well.

As things have turned out, TWA would have subsequently also gained the necessary leverage to perhaps renegotiate their exhorbitant aircraft lease rates, based upon what I have observed other carriers being able to do recently in light of the dismal state of the industry and the lessors' reluctance to be saddled with a bunch of valueless and unleasable/saleable used aircraft.

This might have also freed up enough cash to hedge a reasonable percentage of their fuel purchases. By now, all of the 767-200 fleet would have been long gone, replaced by nearly new 767-300's, all 50 of the 717 initial order would be in service, the first A-318 deliveries would be right around the corner, and they could keep capacity and fuel costs down by beginning to dump older MD-80's, all of which they were making lease payments on.

Add to that their share of the gift of public funds the taxpayers doled out to the airlines following 9/11, the enhancements to RASM the code-share might have added to the Karabu-stunted numbers, and the operation of more efficient aircraft and perhaps a decent fuel hedge may have contributed to keeping CASM in line.

These factors combined may have also left TWA in a position to qualify for the ATSB loan guarantees, much as America West was able to do. Which reminds me, the code-share with HP had just begun and had no time to garner a positive cash effect at TWA when the deal was done. Who knows if AA would have objected to TWA retaining the HP code-share had they entered into one with AA as well. Knowing AA, probably not.

Seems like over here all we do anymore is dream of days gone by like some old widow. What woulda, coulda and shoulda happened is of little consequence beyond our romanticized speculation. Nonetheless, I enjoy sharing these thoughts with you guys. Perhaps it will help us in acquiring the skills to revive TWA from the dead and restore it to greatness one day, provided one of us hits the lottery jackpot big time.

Take care,

Marky [Smile]

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TWA Fan 1
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quote:
Originally posted by MrMarky:
Hi Jeff and TWA Fan 1,
Seems like over here all we do anymore is dream of days gone by like some old widow. What woulda, coulda and shoulda happened is of little consequence beyond our romanticized speculation. Nonetheless, I enjoy sharing these thoughts with you guys. Perhaps it will help us in acquiring the skills to revive TWA from the dead and restore it to greatness one day, provided one of us hits the lottery jackpot big time.

Take care,

Marky [Smile]

Mr. Marky,

Yes, it is definitely fun speculating (actually fantasizing) about the revival of TWA.

Donald Carty realizes that the TWA acquisition is totally without value and he sells the name, and the few paltry remaining assets to what would have to be some whacko airline enthusiast type (Carty would, of course, keep STL and all the TWA slots).

Then what? Just like the new Pan Am, the new TWA would be based in a place like Minot, ND and would fly, let's say, three old-school DC-9's (nine flights daily from Minot to Midway!). Yikes!

But you're right, I feel like those oldtime Brooklyn guys who still believe the Dodgers are coming back to Ebbets Field (which is now a housing project).

What is slightly more likely when the economy revives is that a new airline largely composed of ex-TWA people would be formed.

TWA: Sic Transit Gloria

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aa777
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With all do respect the end of the story happened a long time ago. I suggest you go visit the airline cemetery on Memorial Day and move on.
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L1011Ret
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I just have to say that it is one thing to disagree, quite another to tell others how they should think and feel!!! If some want to think about what was or what might have been, I believe they have a right to do so. Part of our psychological construction of who we are is formed by memories of the past and hopes for the future.

[ 04-06-2003, 12:37: Message edited by: L1011Ret ]

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Goodyear_26
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What's this about DC-9's Minot to Midway? If we're gonna do a resurrecting job lets shop around for some Connies! [Smile]
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TWA Fan 1
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aa777:

TWA ceased to exist as an independent airline on January 8, 2001. But AA continues to operate it as a separate entity. The latest round of concessions largely represents the end of the story for TWA LLC.

Second, as an AA employee I'm sure you can appreciate that the former TWA employees (and some of us former TWA customers) take great pride in what was a storied, wonderful airline whose primary misfortune is that it was pillaged by one of the greatest corporate villains of all time.

TWA is gone but the pride will always be there and there is nothing remotely irrational or sentimental about that.

Whatever problems your airline may be having right now, just imagine if AA had been decimated and looted by a Carl Icahn corporate raider type. Would you not continue to feel pride for AA even though the airline ceased to operate?

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extwacaptain
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quote:
Originally posted by aa777:
With all do respect the end of the story happened a long time ago. I suggest you go visit the airline cemetery on Memorial Day and move on.

aa777,

If you will notice, most of the comments have been posted by TWA passengers. I doubt that they require, OR appreciate, an employee from their “SECOND” favorite airline suggesting what memories they should hold very dear. One day, hopefully, the TWA passengers may have similar feelings about American.

Should you prefer to forget enjoyable moments in your life, that is your option.

Randy Kramer

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KarenLF
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quote:
Originally posted by Goodyear_26:
What's this about DC-9's Minot to Midway? If we're gonna do a resurrecting job lets shop around for some Connies! [Smile]

Minot? Who said Minot?? Have you ever been to Minot?? EEEEWWWWWW

"Freezin is the reason"
That is certainly an UNDERSTATEMENT

I certainly do take pride that I did work for TWA. I have the same pride working for Eagle,now!
Karen

[ 04-07-2003, 00:13: Message edited by: KarenLF ]

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Bob Ritchie
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[ 04-07-2003, 07:10: Message edited by: Bob Ritchie ]

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DC9
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Bob,
Do any of the former Ozark employees ever hold Mr.Crane ,CEO of Ozark,responsible for your demise?
By the way,I think it's time you got spell check. [Wink]
Jim

[ 04-07-2003, 05:58: Message edited by: DC9 ]

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Bob Ritchie
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Jim,

Spellcheck is like sex....with a condom.

Mr. Crane was simply out of his league. Icahn's $19.00 per share stock offer was double the historical stock value; although only about 60% of OZA's liquidation value. OZA's debt/equity ratio was 80/20. Only 20% debt; unheard of equity within the airline industy. Carl proceeded to liquidate OZA's equity and dump 100% debt on TWA.

Given the stock offer and board seats; the sale of OZA was a "no brainer" for Mr. Crane.

Also Ichan gave Mr. Crane and Mr.Cox( OZA chairman of the BOD) seats on the the TWA BOD, making them Vice Chairmen; something that neither USAir or UAL offered during their buyout attempts.

The joke was on Crane and Cox. Carl dumped them within a couple of years....both gentlemen are now dead. Mr. Crane died only a couple of months ago.

Bob

[ 04-07-2003, 15:41: Message edited by: Bob Ritchie ]

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DC9
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Bob,
Thanks for your answer.
Jim

[ 04-07-2003, 07:31: Message edited by: DC9 ]

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twaokc
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Bob Ritchie,

I was not a pilot, but I do remember everything you said. You hit the nail on the head. Why was the article deleted?
Carl

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Bob Ritchie
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Carl,

Because it served no purpose. It dumped on people's illusions and makes no difference any way.

I shouldn't write after being up all night.

Take care,

Bob

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