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Author Topic: Remembering
fdobcy
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10 years ago today TWA was no more ! Click remembering rgds marc
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Bob Ritchie
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Yes TWA ceased to exist.

The bankruptcy court liquidated TWA. A milli-second later AA purchased selected assets of the former airline, offered employment to selected groups and folded the whole thing into a new limited liability corporation named TWA-LLC...a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines.

Thus continued the process of painting the former TWA airplanes and putting the American Airlines name on the side. The former TWA employees were provided with AA uniforms...although we continued to wear the TWA I.D. as we were in fact.....not AA employees; rather TWA-LLC.

Our paychecks came from TWA-LLC, not AA. This process continued for about three more years until flight crews and others slowly transitioned to the AA certificate. For a time...some of us were operating on the AA certificate: flying with career AA pilots and flight attendants.... while friends of ours were still flying under the old TWA certificate and restricted to flying with only former TWA pilots and FAs.

All of the former TWA FA's were furloughed by mid 2003 and now the pilots still operating on the TWA certificate had to fly with career AA FA's who had trained on the TWA certificate.

The process was convoluted but worked pretty smoothly. Eventually all the former TWA pilots were qualified on AA's certificate and the TWA certificate was surrendered. Don't remember exacly when...around 2004 I believe. Many retired after the AA purchase but prior to having transitioned to the AA certificate.... in reality having never flown for AA....despite the name on the side of the airplane and the uniform that they wore.

Yes....over 90% eventually lost their jobs. As recently as a couple months ago there were less that 1,500 former TWA employees still working. Predominately pilot: a few mechanics and agents. The recent recall of several hundred former TWA FAs is helping to lift those numbers a bit.

September 11, 2001....changed everything!

Bob

Posts: 1936 | From: Warren County, Missouri  |  IP: Logged
TWABRAT
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Right you are, Bob. A friend of mine in the customer service ranks with a TWA hire date of 1968 was offered a job with American with an April 2001 DOH. He became one of the 90% that lost his job.
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thebear
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Please, let's not forget the over 1200 TWA pilots who were furloughed as well. Some of whom are still on the street eight years later. Some of these pilots had 15 years seniority and had upgraded to Captain.

John

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Rocky Dollarhide
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Probably the saddest day in airline history. The Wonderful Airline was no more..........
R$

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Bob Ritchie
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Airline Deregulation.

The greatest "anti-labor" legislation ever enacted by the U.S. Congress. Authored in the Senate by a democrat "friend of labor" and a republican who only sought to enhance cheap airline flights into Las Vegas. Opposed my peons such as myself who retain, to this day, numerous letters written to my Senators and Congressmen expressing my fears....all of which came true.

The "trail of tears" has been long and wide. Braniff. Pan American. Eastern Airlines. Old Continental. TWA. For the employees of each ....the "worst day in aviation history" was experienced.

And let's not forget all those who continued on in some fashion as part of another carrier...but forever lost their identity.

Western Airlines. National. NorthEast. Allegheny. Mohawk. Lake Central. PSA. Piedmont. Bonanza. Pacific. West Coast. HughesWest. North Central. Southern. Republic. Frontier. Central. Trans Texas. Ozark. Air California. Wein Alaska. America West. TransAmerica. Seaboard World. Modern Air Transport. World Airways.(still around sorta) Capitol Airlines. Flying Tigers. Saturn. Zantop.

All these and more just during my career. It continues even into today. NorthWest into Delta and Continental into United. Oddities exist. USAirways today is actually AmericaWest...but with USAirways name. And United...is really Continental...but carrying the United name. How crazy is that?

We are down to the Big Three now. Delta. United. American. They are the "Big Three" largly as a result of their International routes. Southwest has become "the" domestic airlne. USAirways, Alaska and a few nitch players like JetBlue make up the rest of the legitimate airline business.

Dozens of "contract" carriers, operating regional jets, fly under the colors of the "major" carriers. None of them are "airlines" in the traditional sense.

The historical glamour of the International Carriers(TWA and PanAm)...the swagger of major domestic airlines(AA/Delta/UAL).....the flavor, color and pride of the old "local service" airlines(Allegheny/Southern/Ozark/Air West) Forever gone. As dead as the Dodo Bird.

All our brothers and sisters shed tears when their beloved airlines went away.

I recall many years ago...a senior Eastern Airlines L-1011 captain on my jumpseat going into LGA. He was being offered a job as a 727 captain, with the Trump Shuttle, which had been the Eastern Shuttle. Couldn't make up his mind what to do.

A few months later EAL ceased to exist. Not many years passed and Trump Shuttle became USAir Shuttle. Then eventually part of it became Delta Shuttle.

I've often wondered what he did. What would you or I have done?

One more reason why I thank God almost daily for the distinct priviledge of being allowed to complete my career via OZA/TWA and AA. A stoke of luck that allowed me to retire and recieve every benefit which I had coming to me.

It was a gift. Nothing I did influenced the outcome. Just a feather upon the winds. One lucky and grateful son of a gun.

Bob

[ 04-11-2011, 19:43: Message edited by: Bob Ritchie ]

Posts: 1936 | From: Warren County, Missouri  |  IP: Logged
Jeff I.
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Thanks for all the posts on this thread so far including the initial one by Marc with the great video and pics. Also .... thanks to Bob for your very interesting thoughts on both de-regulation as well as the narrative on the before and after of the "asset acquisition" by AA in 2001.

Time has indeed passed and with it some of the intense emotions of that time have been tempered. Still --- in thinking back to that time it still touches a bit of a raw nerve (at least on my end) re: how things were handled by TWA management. We all know the financial challenges TWA faced and ...... especially given the events of 9/11 and the aftermath, it is highly probable that had TWA rejected the offer in early 2001 by AA, they would have eventually face another bankruptcy, an acquistion down the road or some combination thereof. Still --- US Airways faced significant challenges pre-9/11 and they're still flying ..... even though they are clearly a weak carrier.

It still seems to me, though, that TWA management caved way too easily --- jumped on the AA PR steamroller and tried to present a pretty picture of how STL would be strengthened, TWA employees would face a brighter future, etc., etc. And, of course, TWA shareholders were completely (and cynically) sold down the river with the "planned bankruptcy" so that AA could avoid any potential damage from Icahn and Karabu. Compton himself testified in front of Congress that the bankruptcy "was not his idea." Bob is right that he was one of the lucky few who fared well but ...... for those 90% and, presumably, lots people not employed by TWA but employed at Lambert ..... I'm sure there has been plenty of collateral fallout.

I realize our world changed dramatically because of 9/11 and then the Great Recession but ...... once in a while I still reflect on the "what might have beens" if TWA had chosen to not take that offer at that time. Most of us TWA loyalists had been very encouraged by the "COO-type" moves that Compton had made first while he served as COO and then when he moved to CEO. He set a path that made a high priority to fleet modernization, clean planes and on-time performance ..... and delivered. He expanded focus cities, began to beef up TWA's transcon presence ..... and delivered. He reversed course from Gitner's highly damaging retrenchment to having TWA be only a STL-centric airline ...... and delivered. Unfortunately, though, I don't think Compton had the CEO-type savvy on the financial end and otherwise to anticipate the false bill of goods brought to the table by AA. In my opinion, Gitner and Abels were likely the forces that pushed the AA deal and ...... Compton caved.

I know there are plenty of different takes on the events of early 2001 and .... I welcome feedback and other opinions. But --- I still believe things were handled very poorly on the TWA end.

Jeff I.

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Robert Dedman
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One more reason why I thank God almost daily for the distinct priviledge of being allowed to complete my career via OZA/TWA and AA. A stoke of luck that allowed me to retire and recieve every benefit which I had coming to me.

It was a gift. Nothing I did influenced the outcome. Just a feather upon the winds. One lucky and grateful son of a gun.

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Robert Dedman
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My reply got away from me but, Bob, you are grateful and humble, and like me, being able to finish a career. How many did not. Luck played a lot in my life but hard work helped too.
I meant to attach this to your post and my previous one.

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upsilon
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Bob Ritchie, just a historical nit. Nothing of the Delta Shuttle came out of Eastern. Its origins began when Frank Lorenzo, then of Texas International, set up the New York Airways Shuttle from scratch after deregulation to compete with EA. I flew it and seem to recall it was out of the LGA B concourse. Pan Am purchased it and moved it to the remodeled Marine Terminal. Delta purchased it from Pan Am.

[ 04-12-2011, 15:43: Message edited by: upsilon ]

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Capn Eddie Ricketyback
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All this stuff took place long after I left TWA, but from what I've seen about the merger the TWA employees fared worse than the employees of any other acquired carrier that I know about. Of course I'm not familiar with every merger in the history of this industry, but it looks to me as though they got very short shrift indeed.

One small example, I recall when I described what I knew of the pass policy to a friend who was a retired American Pilot he couldn't believe it. He was convinced that I was mistaken and did some research on it himself and found that I was correct.

That being said, I don't know how the former Ozark employees fared in their merger with TWA. Maybe our former Ozarkian can enlighten us.

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Bob Ritchie
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Upsilon,

In 2009 USAirways gave Delta 125 slots at LGA and Delta was to move their shuttle operation to the USAirways terminal.

Thus it seemed that a piece of the old EAL shuttle was being added to the Delta shuttle...via USAirways.

However the direct linage you described is correct. Things got complicated once EAL sold their Shuttle.

It matters not I guess... as the original concept that EAL developed...always an extra aircraft available etc....no longer exists.

Thanks for the clarification.

And oh yes. NYA. That union busting operation of F. Lorenzo, ran by none other than Alfred Kahn, the former CAB chairman and father of deregulation...granted "Visual Flight Rule" slots to operate their airline within the most congested airspace in N. America

Unheard of.

Bob

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upsilon
Post Captain
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Bob, another nit and more memories. I don't think anything of the Eastern Shuttle can be said to have ended up at Delta. The original 2009 proposal was for USAir to trade 125 LGA slot/pairs for 42 DL slot/pairs at DCA. These LGA slot/pairs would have those used by the US Air Express routes, many of which Delta said it would pick up. The US Shuttle [formerly Eastern via Trump) and the US Mainline would continue.

Delta could not have handled this expansion from their part of the then joint DL/NW terminal and I saw drawings of a possible passageway to the US terminal. I never heard that the Delta Shuttle would leave the Marine Terminal, but that might have been an ultimate consequence.

However the DOT and the FAA insisted that they give up 34 of the slot/pairs at LGA to other airlines and that put the matter into the courts, where it is today.

I vividly remember the first days of the Eastern Shuttle at LGA in the early 1960s. Passengers did not even enter the Main Terminal building but walked along the outside of the building to a shed between the Eastern Concourse A and the first hanger to the right. The shed was hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but the price was right! I seem to recall it was about $25 and collected in flight. The equipment was Connies and Electras. Eventually space was found for it inside the terminal. What memories!

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Bob Ritchie
Post Captain
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Upsilon,

I concede the point and you are correct sir. This is what happens when I rely on memory.

As Chuck Yeager once said when talking about experiences that he and Bob Hoover had shared...."This may not be the way that it happened...but it is the way we remember it"!

I never saw the Connies on the Shuttle but well remember the Electras. Like most concepts the original was the best and never quite duplicated.


Take care,

Bob

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Bob Ritchie
Post Captain
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quote:
Originally posted by Capn Eddie Ricketyback:
All this stuff took place long after I left TWA, but from what I've seen about the merger the TWA employees fared worse than the employees of any other acquired carrier that I know about. Of course I'm not familiar with every merger in the history of this industry, but it looks to me as though they got very short shrift indeed.

One small example, I recall when I described what I knew of the pass policy to a friend who was a retired American Pilot he couldn't believe it. He was convinced that I was mistaken and did some research on it himself and found that I was correct.

That being said, I don't know how the former Ozark employees fared in their merger with TWA. Maybe our former Ozarkian can enlighten us.

Mergers,

One of the best comments that I ever heard on the subject came from Bill Compton when he was CEO of TWA.

Bill's father had been a DC-8 captain at Panagra. Panagra was purchased by and merged into Braniff in 1967.

Thirty three years later Bill said that his dad....now well into his 80's... still bitched about how Braniff had screwed the Panagra pilots during the merger.

Sounds familiar. [Wink]

Bob

Posts: 1936 | From: Warren County, Missouri  |  IP: Logged


 
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