Airlines Remembered

Trans World Airlines - TWA

Photos © R.Leeuw


TWA was taken over by American Airlines during 2001
Homebase: Kansas City,MO and St.Louis,MO and New York,NY
Founded: 1955
ICAO callsign: TWA
Flightnbr prefix: TW / TWA
Operations: passengers

Tristar N31023 TWA (c) Ruud Leeuw
Lockheed L.1011-385-1 TriStar 50 (converted TriStar 1) N31023 (c/n 193B-1080) seen at Amsterdam in the early 1990s.

Sad to see a company disappear, which had such a rich history ! Originally founded on Oct. 1st 1930 as Transcontinental and Western Air, it was one of the major airlines in the United States right from the start (together with American Airlines and United Airlines). It was one of the companies that initiated the production of the DC-3, but will be most of all remembered by the role Howard Hughes played in those early years of TWA and the initiative to have Lockheed produce the Constellation (which entered service in 1944).
More on the Lockheed Constellation, the various models and TWA's role:
TWA's first overseas service was Washington-Paris on Dec. 05th 1945.
On May 21st 1950 the name was changed to Trans World Airlines and in September and October services to London and Frankfurt started.

767 N610TW TWA (c) Ruud Leeuw
Boeing 767-231(ER) N610TW (c/n 22573/70) on final approach

TWA introduced its first jet, the Boeing 707, in March 1960. The Lockheed Tristar was added in 1972. The Boeing 767 was introduced in the mid-1990s.
But deregulation in the US hit TWA hard and a process of cutting costs was initiated: aircraft were sold or returned to leasing companies, staff was layed off, routes were sold, incl the routes to London (sold to American Airlines in 1991). TWA emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1995, with hopes for a new future.

MD-82 N921TW TWA (c) R. Leeuw
MD-82 N921TW (c/n 49101/1051) in the new colourscheme at Miami,FL in 1999.

After August 1995, now 30 percent employee-owned, TWA saw an opportunity to face the future with a new spirit and a change of colour scheme was found appropriate. But the restructuring had only just begun: in 1996 Boeing 727s and 747s, Lockheed Tristars and the older versions of the McDonnell Douglas DC-9s were all retired and replaced by Boeing 757s and 767s. TWA became again a launch customer: for the Boeing 717 (of original McDonnell Douglas design).
But the losses never stopped.... And that is where American Airlines stepped in.
In 2002, aircraft in TWA livery still departed the gates, but as from Dec. 2nd 2001 the callsign had changed to American Airlines.
A commemorative last TWA flight operated from Kansas City to St.Louis on Dec. 01st 2001 and many employees rode aboard the MD-83 N948TW, "the Wings of Pride" aircraft they had sponsored during the airline's troubled years.
Sources:
Airlines Worldwide, B.I.Hengi (Midland Publishing, 2000)
Airliners - magazine, World Transport Press www.airlinersonline.com

The fleet (source JP Airline Fleets 2001/2002)
Douglas DC-9-31/32/33 - 24
McDonnel-Douglas MD82 / MD83s - 103
Boeing 717 - 30
Boeing 757 - 27
Boeing 767 - 15


Troy Pavia has his own vision on aviation; check out his website of Lost America by clicking on the image below:

You really will be surprised, planes and other stuff ....


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