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Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a major United Statesmarker-based airline with hubs in St. Louismarker, New Yorkmarker (JFK), with focus cities in Kansas City, Missourimarker; San Juan, Puerto Ricomarker; and Los Angeles, Californiamarker. The airline operated from 1930 until it was acquired by American Airlines in 2001. Prior to the buyout, TWA was one of the largest domestic U.S. airlines operating flights to most major U.S. cities. It also had a substantial feeder operation from smaller mid-west cities. Beyond the U.S., TWA had a highly developed European and Middle East network, served mainly from its hub at John F. Kennedy International Airportmarker. Along with Pan American World Airways, it was considered to be a secondary unofficial flag carrier for the United States, and it was the unofficial flag carrier of the U.S. in the 1990s, following Pan Am's collapse.



Founding - TWA

TWA's corporate history dates from the July 16, 1930, forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport (T-A-T) and Western Air Express to form Transcontinental & Western Air (T&WA). The companies merged at the urging of Postmaster General Walter Folger Brown, who was looking for bigger airlines to give airmail contracts.

Both airlines brought high profile aviation pioneers who would give the airline the panache of being called the "The Airline Run by Flyers." The airlines would become known for several years as being on the cutting edge of aviation. Transcontinental, the bigger of the two, had the marquee expertise of Charles Lindbergh and was already offering a 48-hour combination of plane and train trip across the United States. Western, which was slightly older having been founded in 1925, had the expertise of Jack Frye.

On October 25, 1930, the airline offered one of the first all plane scheduled service from coast to coast—the Lindbergh Route. The route took 36 hours and initially called for overnights in Kansas City. In summer 1931, TWA relocated its headquarters from New York to Kansas City, Missourimarker.


In 1931, the airline nearly went out of business after TWA Flight 599marker crashed on March 31 near Bazaar, Kansas, killing all eight on board the plane, including University of Notre Damemarker coach Knute Rockne. The crash revealed problems with the airline's aging fleet of Fokker Trimotors.

Experimental TWA test aircraft.
The dominant manufacturer of the day was Bill Boeing but, because of a prior contract with United Air Lines, he could not sell his planes to competing lines. Frye and other members of TWA approached several other manufacturers, including Donald Douglas with specifications for a sturdier, larger plane. On September 20, 1932, the contract was signed with Douglas and the DC-1 was delivered to TWA in December 1933. The result was the one and only DC-1. The new aircraft was ultimately to evolve into the DC-3. Throughout 1934, Tomlinson and Richter tested the DC-1, and Tomlinson's extensive testing in 1934 and 1935 led to higher-altitude "over-weather flying" and cabin pressurization.

On February 18, 1934, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, Frye, and a TWA team including "Tommy" Tomlinson, Larry Fritz, and Paul E. Richter, Si Morehouse, Harlan Hull, John Collings, and Andy Andrews flew a prototype of the DC-1 from Burbank, Californiamarker, to Newark, New Jerseymarker, in a record-breaking 13 hours and 4 minutes.

Lehman Brothers/Hertz Ownership - T&WA, Inc.

In 1934, following charges of favoritism in the contracts, the Air Mail scandal erupted, leading to the Air Mail Act of 1934 which dissolved the forced Transcontinental and Western merger and ordered the United States Army Air Service to deliver the mail. The T&WA name, however, would stick with Transcontinental as TWA. With the company facing financial hardship, Lehman Brothers and John D. Hertz took over ownership of the company.

The Army fliers experienced a series of crashes, and it was decided to privatize the delivery with the provision that no former companies could bid on the contracts. T&WA added the suffix "Inc." to its name, thus qualifying it as a different company and got 60 percent of its old contracts back starting again in May 1934.

On May 18, 1934, the DC-2 production version of the DC-1 and forerunner of the DC-3 entered commercial service on TWA's Columbus-Pittsburgh-Newark route. On December 27, 1934, Jack Frye became President, Paul E. Richter, Vice Pres., Walt Hamilton, V.P. Maintenance with managers Lawrence G. "Larry" Fritz, and Tommy Tomlinson, the leader in "High Altitude Research" for Over Weather Flying. The new owners installed directional "homing" radar and runway lights at its facilities.

In 1935, Tomlinson and Northrop Gamma (turbo-supercharged) began High Altitude research, and the last of 14 TWA Northrop Alphas were phased out. On November 16, 1936, Paul E. Richter headed the airline's Boeing 307 talks. On January 29, 1937, TWA contracted with Boeing for five Boeing 307 "Stratoliners", the first commercial plane with a pressurized cabin. The first TWA Stratoliner was delivered on May 6, 1940.

In 1938, Paul E. Richter was elected Executive Vice President, Lawrence G. "Larry" Fritz became Vice Pres. of Operations, and Tomlinson Vice Pres. of Engineering. TWA subsequently received the San Francisco to Chicago route.

Howard Hughes

In 1938, Lehman and Hertz began selling their interest and General Motors began buying stock. Frye then approached another flying enthusiast, Howard Hughes, to buy stock. According to John Keats's biography of Hughes, he grumbled, "$15 million! That's a small fortune!" before he agreed and initially bought 25 percent of the airline.

On June 22, 1939, Hughes Tool Co. ordered 40 Lockheed Constellations. On July 8, 1940, TWA inaugurated Boeing 307 Stratoliner service.


World War II

Hughes gained a controlling interest in 1941 and eventually controlled 78 percent of TWA. The airline prospered during World War II, transporting President Franklin Roosevelt overseas—particularly to the Casablanca Conference -- and racking up 40 million miles in flights for the Army, as well as supplying the North Atlantic route to Prestwick, Scotlandmarker, and the South Atlantic route from Brazilmarker to Liberiamarker and points east.

Hughes pushed for the construction of the Lockheed Constellation, which would become synonymous with the TWA style of elegance and cutting-edge technology. On April 17, 1944, Hughes and Frye flew the Constellation (C-69 USAAF #43-10310) from Burbank, Californiamarker, to Washington, D.C.marker, in an unofficial record 6 hours 58 minutes.

Post-War - The Trans World Airline

L-749 Constellation "Star of Virginia" at London Heathrow in 1954 with under-fuselage "Speedpack" freight container
After breaking Pan American World Airways' legal designation as the United States' sole international carrier, TWA began trans-Atlantic service in 1946 using the new elegant Lockheed Constellation ("Connie") aircraft, and changing its name to The Trans World Airline.

The airline assisted in the setting-up of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, and the newly established German national airline Lufthansamarker. Airlines from around the world sent their pilots to TWA for training.

Falling Out Between Hughes and Frye

Frye and Hughes had a falling out in 1946. Hughes' financial advisor Noah Dietrich said that Frye was ruining the company with overexpansion. TWA's stock market price plunged from $53 a share to $10 as the airline suffered a pilot's strike and a temporary grounding of its Constellation fleet. Hughes dictated to management a 50% cut across the board as a solution to the financial problems. In December 1946, Hughes loaded the TWA Board of Directors with men from the Hughes Tool Co. Frye resigned in February 1947, followed three months later by Richter. Thus ended the era of "The Airline Run by Flyers".

TWA had established routes from Europe to Asia during the late 1940s and 1950s, flying its aircraft as far east as Hong Kongmarker. Throughout the next two decades, TWA suffered constant short-term and short-sighted management, with the exception of the able and highly regarded Ralph Damon. TWA survived partly due to the airline's legal maneuvering of the 40s that eliminated a possible competitive threat from American Overseas Airlines, affiliated with American Airlines, relegating them to non-scheduled charter service only and eventually forcing them out of all European-U.S. service by 1950. As a result, TWA and Pan Am were the only U.S. airlines that served Europe until the 1970s.

1950s - Trans World Airlines

In 1950, the airline officially changed its name to Trans World Airlines. Between 1954 and 1958 it moved its executive offices from its landmark downtown Kansas City buildingmarker to New York City. However, the servicing of the fleet continued to be handled in Kansas City, Kansasmarker. Initially, servicing was at a former B-25 Mitchell bomber factory at Fairfax Airportmarker. When the Great Flood of 1951 destroyed the facility, the city of Kansas City, Missouri built TWA a airport on farmland north of downtown at what became Kansas City International Airportmarker. At its peak, the airline was one of Kansas City's biggest employers with more than 20,000 employees.

In the 1950s the TWA Moonliner was the tallest structure at Disneylandmarker and depicted atomic-powered travel to come in 1986.

TWA's maintenance hangar at Philadelphia airport, built in 1956, from an undated photo from Historic American Engineering Record.

TWA suffered from its late entry to the jet age and in 1956 Hughes placed an order for 63 Convair 880s at a cost of $400 million. The transaction ultimately resulted in Hughes losing control of the airline because outside creditors financing the deal did not want Hughes controlling development and operation of aircraft.

In 1958 TWA became the first major airline to hire a black flight attendant, hiring Dorothy Franklin of Astoria, Queens, New Yorkmarker after she filed a lawsuit alleging "that she had been discriminated against 'because of poor complexion ... unattractive teeth' and legs that were 'not shapely.'" New York governor W. Averell Harriman praised her hiring, saying the action "would raise American prestige abroad."


On July 19, 1961, TWA was the first airline to introduce regular in-flight movies aboard its aircraft when it offered the feature film By Love Possessed, starring Lana Turner and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. in the first-class section of a Boeing 707 during a scheduled flight from New York City to Los Angeles.

Charles C. Tillinghast Jr.

Hughes formally relinquished power in 1961 in the battle over the purchase of the Convair 880 jetliners. In the deal, Charles C. Tillinghast Jr. became chairman and oversaw the airline until 1976. The battle over Hughes' control continued until a court order in 1966 forced Hughes to sell his stock at a profit of $546 million (which he used to purchase the regional carrier Air West and rename the airline Hughes Airwest).

Under new corporate management, the Trans World Corporation (TWA's holding company) expanded to purchase the overseas operations of Hilton Hotels.

Revolutionary airport design

TWA was one of the first airlines in the world to embrace the spoke-hub distribution paradigm and also was one of the first airlines to use the Boeing 747. It planned to use the 747 along with the anticipated supersonic transport to whisk people between the West/Midwest (via Kansas City) and New York City (via John F. Kennedy International Airportmarker) to European and other world destinations. As part of this strategy, TWA's hub airports were to be designed so that gates would be close to the street. However, the TWA-style airport design proved impractical and costly when Cuban hijackings in the late 1960s, followed by more sinister and deadly Mideast hijackings, required central security checkpoints.

John F. Kennedy International Airport
In 1962, TWA opened Trans World Flight Centermarker, now known as Terminal 5 (or simply T5), at New York City's JFK Airportmarker and designed by Eero Saarinen. The terminal was expanded in 1969 to accommodate Jumbo Jets, went dormant in 2001, and underwent renovation and expansion beginning in 2005. A new terminal with a crescent-shaped entry hall and now serving Jetblue Airways opened in 2008 — partially encircling the historic landmark designed by Saarinen.

Kansas City International Airport
Kansas City approved a $150 million bond issue for the TWA hub there. TWA vetoed plans for a Dulles International Airportmarker-style hub-and-spoke gate structure. Following union strife, the airport ultimately cost $250 million when it opened in 1972, with U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew officiating. TWA's gates, which were conceived of being within of the street, were likewise to become obsolete because of security. When Kansas City refused to rebuild its terminals (even as Dallas-Fort Worth International Airportmarker rebuilt its similarly designed terminals), TWA began looking elsewhere. Missouri politicians moved to keep it in the state. In 1982, TWA began a decade-long move to Lambert International Airportmarker in St. Louis, Missourimarker.

All-jet fleet

The recognizable TWA logotype
On April 7, 1967, TWA became one of the world's first all-jet airlines with the retirement of their last Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation and L-1649 Starliner aircraft. That morning throughout the TWA system, aircraft ground service personnel placed a booklet on every passenger seat titled "Props Are For Boats."By 1969, TWA had eclipsed Pan American World Airways' one-time Atlantic dominance. And in the Transpacific Route Case of 1969, TWA was given authority to extend its route network across the Pacific Oceanmarker to Hawaii, Japan, and Taiwan.

TWA operated Boeing single-aisle jets in the 1960s.
In 1969, TWA opened the Breech Academymarker on a campus in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansasmarker, to train its flight attendants, ticket agents, and travel agents, as well as to provide flight simulators for its pilots. It became the definitive training facility, and other airlines sent their staff to it.

The airline continued to aggressively expand European operations throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. In 1987, TWA could boast of a trans-Atlantic system that stretched from Los Angeles to Bombay, including virtually every major European population center, with gateways from the United States in 10 major cities.


In 1975, Trans World Airlines was headquartered in Turtle Baymarker area of Midtown Manhattan, New York Citymarker. It is the site of the United Nations Headquartersmarker and the Chrysler Buildingmarker.


Facing the pressures of deregulation, the airline began to consolidate its route system around a domestic hub in Saint Louismarker (aided by its purchase of Ozark Air Lines in 1986) and an international gateway in New Yorkmarker. It was able to remain profitable during this time because of its good pre-deregulation route positioning and the relatively low costs of adapting its operations.In 1985, Carl Icahn bought the airline operations from the Trans World Corporation and appointed himself as chairman of the newly independent airline. Icahn focused upon minimizing the company's surplus liquidity and upon reducing wages and benefits for employees. He later shifted his attention to the sale of the profitable route authorities and gates to other airlines and to the establishment of an unprofitable hub in Atlantamarker. Also in 1985, TWA closed their hub at Pittsburgh International Airportmarker after nearly 20 years of a hub status.

In 1987 Icahn moved the company's main offices from Manhattanmarker, New York Citymarker to office buildings he owned in Mount Kiscomarker.

TWA's zenith occurred in the summer of 1988, when, for the first and only time, the airline would carry more than 50 percent of all the trans-Atlantic passengers. Every day, Boeing 747, Lockheed L-1011, and Boeing 767 aircraft would depart to more than 30 cities in Europe, fed by a small but effective domestic operation focused on moving U.S. passengers to New York or other gateway cities for widebody service across the Atlantic, while a similar inter-European operation would shuttle non-U.S. passengers to TWA's European gateways (Londonmarker and Parismarker) for travel to the United States. Icahn's pressing needs for additional wealth forced him to sell the airline's Heathrowmarker operations to American Airlines at about the same time that Pan American World Airways sold its Heathrow operation to United Airlines.


1992 bankruptcy

Tillinghast ignored the trans-Pacific market and the dedicated air cargo market. He was accused of saying, "There's no money in the Pacific and there's no money in cargo. We're gonna' shrink this airline 'til it's profitable." These two oversights are said to have been the undoing of TWA.

Airline deregulation hit TWA hard in the 1980s. TWA had badly neglected domestic U.S. expansion at a time when the newly deregulated domestic market was growing at an exponential rate. TWA's holding company, Trans World Corporation, spun off the airline, which then became starved for capital. The airline briefly considered selling itself to corporate raider Frank Lorenzo in the 1980s, but ended up selling to corporate raider Carl Icahn in 1985. Under Icahn's direction, many of its most profitable assets were sold to competitors, much to the detriment of TWA. Icahn was eventually ousted in 1993, though not before the airline was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1992. Icahn emerged unscathed. TWA moved its headquarters from Mt. Kisco to the former headquarters building of McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis soon after Icahn left.

1995 bankruptcy

When Carl Icahn left in 1993, he arranged to have TWA give Karabu Corp., an entity he controlled, the rights to buy TWA tickets at 45 percent off published fares through September 2003. This was named "The Karabu Deal." The ticket program agreement, which began on June 14, 1995, excluded tickets for travel which originated or terminated in St. Louis, Missourimarker. Tickets were subject to TWA's normal seat assignment and boarding pass rules and regulations, were non-assignable to any other carrier, and were non-endorsable. No commissions were paid to Karabu by TWA for tickets sold under the ticket program agreement.

At its heyday TWA operated a fleet of 747-100 aircraft.
By agreement dated August 14, 1995, LLC, a wholly owned operating subsidiary of Karabu, was joined as a party to the ticket program agreement. Pursuant to the ticket program agreement, could purchase an unlimited number of system tickets. System tickets are tickets for all applicable classes of service which were purchased by Karabu from TWA at a 45 percent discount from TWA's published fare. In addition to system tickets, could also purchase domestic consolidator tickets, which are tickets issued at bulk fare rates and were limited to specified origin/destination city markets and did not permit the holder to modify or refund a purchased ticket. Karabu's purchase of domestic consolidator tickets was subject to a cap of $70 million per year based on the full retail price of the tickets.

Hence, on most TWA flights, Karabu could buy and then sell a sizable portion of the available seats, leaving TWA to pay for its operating cost with the revenue accrued through the sale of any remaining ticket sales. In other words, TWA was flying passengers who were not paying them, but someone else. This deal left the company powerless. If TWA wanted to increase revenue on busy routes by putting a large plane into service, Karabu could only claim more seats. It is estimated TWA was losing around $150 million a year in revenue with this deal.

In trying to ameliorate the Karabu deal, TWA went in and out of bankruptcy in 1995.

TWA Flight 800

On July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800marker exploded over the Atlantic Oceanmarker near Long Islandmarker, killing all 230 persons on board. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the most likely cause of the disaster was a center fuel tank explosion sparked by exposed wiring. In their subsequent coverage, the media focused heavily on the fact that TWA's airline fleet was among the oldest in service.

Short turn-around

By 1998, TWA had reorganized as a primarily domestic carrier, with routes centered on hubs at St. Louis and New York. Partly in response to TWA Flight 800marker and the age of its fleet, TWA announced a major fleet renewal, ordering 125 new aircraft. TWA paid for naming rights for the new Trans World Domemarker, home of the St. Louis Rams, in its corporate hometown. In 1999 it was headquartered in One City Centre in Downtown St. Louis.

TWA's fleet renewal program included adding newer and smaller, more fuel-efficient longer-range aircraft such as the Boeing 757 and 767 and short-range aircraft such as the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and Boeing 717. Aircraft such as the Boeing 727 and 747, along with the Lockheed L-1011 and older DC-9s, some from Ozark and the 1960s, were retired. TWA also became one of the early customers for the Airbus A318 through ILFC. TWA, had it continued operating through 2003, would have been the first U.S. carrier to fly the type.

A code-share agreement with America West Airlines was started, with long-term plans for a merger considered. However, the 1995 Karabu ticketing deal with Icahn proved to be an obstacle.

The routes that TWA flew were also changed. Several international destinations were dropped or changed, and the focus of the airline became domestic and a small number of international routes through its St. Louis hub and smaller New York (JFK) and San Juan, Puerto Rico hubs. Domestically, the carrier improved services with redesigned aircraft and new services, including "Pay in Coach, Fly in First," where passengers could be upgraded to first class from coach when flying through St. Louis. Internationally, services were cut. European destinations eventually were limited to London, and Paris; and in the Middle East, to Cairo, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv.


TWA stated that it planned to make Los Angeles a focus city around October 2000, with a partnership with American Eagle Airlines as part of Trans World Connection.

Merger with American Airlines

Financial problems began to resurface shortly afterward, and TWA's airline assets were acquired by American Airlines in April 2001. As part of the deal, TWA declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy (for the third time) the day after it agreed to the purchase. The terms of the deal included a $500 million payment. However, since American assumed TWA's liabilities, the deal was estimated to have cost American $2 billion.American did not claim the naming rights for the Rams' home, which eventually became the Edward Jones Domemarker, named after the financial services company with the same name.

TWA booking ended on November 30, 2001.

Trans World Airlines flew its last flight on December 1, 2001 with an MD-80 Aircraft (N948TW). The ceremonial last flight was Flight 220 from Kansas City, Missourimarker, to St. Louis, with CEO Captain William Compton at the controls. The final flight before TWA officially became part of American Airlines was completed between St. Louis and Las Vegas, Nevadamarker, also on December 1, 2001. At 10:00 p.m. CST on that date, employees began removing all TWA signs and placards from airports around the country, replacing them with American Airlines signs. At midnight, all TWA flights officially became listed as American Airlines flights. Some aircraft carried hybrid American/TWA livery during the transition, with American's tricolor stripe on the fuselage and TWA titles on the tail and forward fuselage. Signage still bears the TWA logo in portions of Concourse D at Lambert St. Louis International Airport. On some MD-80 aircraft, the cabinets retain TWA logos.

American Airlines acquired some Ambassadors Clubs, and other Ambassadors Clubs closed on December 2, 2001

One lighted TWA sign still exists (as of 2009) on the east side of Saarinen's New York JFK terminal. According to Dave Barger, CEO of JetBlue Airways, JetBlue intends to retain the lit TWA sign on the Saarinen terminal after the renovation of Terminal 5.

TWA's St. Louis hub decreased after the merger due to its proximity to American's larger hub at Chicagomarker's O'Hare International Airportmarker. As a result, American initially replaced TWA's St. Louis mainline hub with regional jet service (going from over 800 operations a day to just over 200) and downsized TWA's maintenance base in Kansas City. In September 2009, American Airlines announced its intent to shut down the STL hub it inherited from TWA, and in October 2009, American Airlines announced its intent to close the Kansas City maintenance base by September, 2010.


See TWA destinations for mainline destinations. For commuter destinations, see Trans World Express and Trans World Connection.

TWA had codeshare agreements with the following airlines

Terrorist target

From 1969 to 1986, five TWA airliners were terrorist targets for Palestinian guerrilla groups, mainly because the airline had a strong European presence, represented the United States of America, and flew to Israelmarker.

  • In 1969, TWA Flight 840 from Romemarker to Athensmarker was hijacked and forcibly diverted to Damascusmarker. Nobody was injured, but the aircraft's nose was blown up (although replaced and the plane returned to service).
  • In 1970, TWA Flight 741marker was hijacked after taking off from Frankfurt am Mainmarker, Germanymarker, to New Yorkmarker. It was taken to Dawson's Field in Jordanmarker with two other hijacked aircraft. All three aircraft were empty of passengers and crew before being destroyed. A fourth aircraft that landed in Cairo, Egyptmarker, suffered a similar fate.
  • In 1974, TWA Flight 841 from Tel Avivmarker to New York Citymarker crashed shortly after takeoff from Athensmarker enroute to Romemarker after a bomb believed to have been in the cargo hold exploded, killing all 88 onboard.
  • In 1976, TWA Flight 355 was hijacked by five Croatianmarker separatists as it flew from New York-LaGuardiamarker to Chicagomarker. They ordered the pilot to fly to Montrealmarker, where the plane was refueled, and then made additional refueling stops in Gandermarker and Keflavikmarker; at some of these stops, the hijackers unloaded propaganda pamphlets that they demanded to be dropped over Montrealmarker, Chicagomarker, New Yorkmarker, Londonmarker and Parismarker. At the plane's final stop at Paris-Charles de Gaullemarker, the hijackers surrendered after direct talks with U.S. ambassador Kenneth Rush, and their explosives were revealed to be fakes.
  • In 1985, TWA Flight 847 from Athensmarker to Romemarker was hijacked first to Beirutmarker, then to Algiersmarker, back to Beirutmarker, back to Algiersmarker, and finally back to Beirutmarker — with some of its fuel being paid for by the Shell credit card of flight attendant Uli Derickson.
  • In 1986, TWA Flight 840 was attacked with an on-board bomb causing four Americans (including a nine-month-old infant) to be ejected to their deaths. Five others on the aircraft were injured as the cabin experienced a rapid decompression. The remaining 110 passengers survived the incident as pilot Richard "Pete" Petersen made an emergency landing.


Fleet in 2000

TWA Trans World Airlines Fleet
Type Total Routes Notes
Airbus A318-100 (50 Orders) Domestic Order cancelled by American Airlines immediately after takeover
Boeing 757-200 27 Long-haul domestic; international 17 Currently operated by Delta Air Lines. Others in service with Ethiopian Airlines, Blue Panorama Airlines and Uzbekistan Airways.
Boeing 767-200/-300 23 Long-haul international routes
McDonnell Douglas MD-81 8 Short- to Medium-haul domestic routes; Caribbean
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 35 Short- to Medium-haul domestic routes; Caribbean
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 64 Short- to Medium-haul domestic routes; Caribbean Newest ones remain in service with American Airlines
Boeing 717 29
(50 Ordered)
Short- to Medium-haul domestic routes Majority were later sold to AirTran Airways while others went to other carriers.
Douglas DC-9 Short-haul domestic routes

Retired fleet

TWA Trans World Airlines retired Fleet
Type Years Routes Notes
Douglas DC-1 1933-1934
Douglas DC-2 1934-1942
Douglas DC-3 1937-1957
Boeing 707 1960-1984
Boeing 727-100
Boeing 727-200 1968-2000
Boeing 747-100 1970-1998
Boeing 747-200 1977-2001
Boeing 747-SP 1979-1986
Convair 880 1960-1974
Lockheed L-1011 1972-1997
Lockheed Constellation 1945-1967

TWA at one time also held orders for the BAC-Aérospatiale Concorde, Sud Aviation Caravelle, Boeing 2707, and the Airbus A330 (which were taken by Cathay Pacific). The A330 order was eventually converted to A318 orders.


Trans World Airlines fleet in 1970
Aircraft Total Orders Notes
BAC/Sud Concorde 0 0 Six on option
Boeing SST 0 0 12 on option
Boeing 707-120 58 0
Boeing 707-320 53 0
Boeing 727 67 0
Boeing 747 3 12
Convair CV-880 25 0
Douglas DC-9-15 19 0
Lockheed Tristar 0 22
Total 225 34

Crew bases

TWA had crew bases in Boston, New York, Washington DC, St Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Frankfurt. Seasonal crew bases were located in Rome and at one time, Cairo. Starting in 1996, TWA had a "West Coast Regional Domicile", in which pilots covered originating flights out of major west coast U.S. airports from San Diego, CA north to San Francisco, CA.

Ambassadors Club

TWA operated Ambassadors Club locations in various airports. American Airlines acquired some clubs, and other clubs closed on December 2, 2001. Before the closure of the clubs, TWA maintained clubs at the following airports:

Clubs in North America open on December 1

Clubs in North America closed prior to dissolution

Clubs in Europe closed prior to dissolution


  1. The airline business By Rigas Doganis
  2. TWA's flight ends as it merges into American
  3. Ailing T.W.A. Still a Symbol, and So Perhaps a Target, Abroad
  4. International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 35. St. James Press, 2001 - via
  5. INS. "First negro hostess hired by TWA," The Bridgeport Post, Bridgeport, Connecticut, February 10, 1958, page 26.
  6. World Airline Directory. Flight International. March 20, 1975. " 508.
  7. " Map." Turtle Bay Association. Retrieved on January 25, 2009.
  8. "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 30, 1985. 128." Retrieved on June 17, 2009.
  9. [1]
  10. " Contact TWA." Trans World Airlines. May 1, 1999. Retrieved on May 18, 2009.
  11. Brown, Lisa R. " Lewis Rice eyes move to One City Centre." St. Louis Business Journal. Friday July 10, 2009. Retrieved on August 18, 2009.
  12. " LOS ANGELES IS TWA'S 2000 FOCUS CITY." Trans World Airlines. August 15, 2000. Retrieved on July 25, 2009.
  13. Home Page," Trans World Airlines
  14. " TWA Ambassadors Club," Trans World Airlines
  15. Bombs for Croatia (Part I)
  16. Bombs for Croatia (Part II)
  17. Flight International 26 March 1970
  18. 1996 Working Agreement between Trans World Airlines and (sic) Pilots Represented by the Air Line Pilot's Association in their service: Section 6, pages 16-18.
  19. " View Domestic Locations," Trans World Airlines
  20. " TWA North America Destinations," Trans World Airlines
  21. " TWA Transatlantic Destinations Europe and the Middle East," Trans World Airlines

External links

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