Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Twa Chief Seeks St. Louis Support

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Twa Chief Seeks St. Louis Support

Article excerpt

Trans World Airlines Inc. needs support from St. Louis-area businesses to make a strong comeback from bankruptcy, Chairman William R. Howard said Friday.

"If there ever was a time for a very active business community to come to the aid of a sister company, today surely is that day," Howard said at the Regional Commerce and Growth Association's annual transportation awards luncheon.

TWA hopes business people will choose its flights over those offered by rival carriers whenever price, travel time and other factors are equal, Howard said.

TWA could significantly improve its bottom line by landing two or three extra passengers per flight on competitive routes, he said.

TWA uses Lambert Field as its main hub and plans to move its corporate headquarters and several hundred jobs to the St. Louis area.

TWA also plans to improve and expand its service at Lambert. Although the airline already offers 250 flights a day - far more than any other carrier - it wants to add destinations to feed more passengers to the hub, Howard said.

Carl Icahn, the financier who controlled TWA from late 1985 to late 1992, reduced the size of its route system and fleet in the past few years as part of a retrenchment designed to return the airline to profitability.

Under Howard, best known for guiding Piedmont Airlines to prominence and prosperity in the 1980s, TWA will seek to gradually expand and modernize.

TWA took delivery of six new MD-83s, made be McDonnell Douglas Corp., in June and July, Howard said.

The airline also has a deal for 12 used DC-9s, eight of which will arrive before the end of the year, he said.

TWA has been trying to reorganize its finances under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code since January 1992. As part of its reorganization, scheduled to take effect Sept. 30, Icahn is giving control to creditors and employees.

TWA's creditors will get a 55 percent stake in the airline in exchange for waiving repayment of $1 billion in debt. The airline's employees will get the other 45 percent in return for $660 million in concessions. …

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