Trans Provincial is established by a group of local businessmen at Terrace, British Columbia, in 1964 to offer charter and scheduled services from Prince Rupert to the Queen Charlotte Islands as well as to Stewart, Alice Arm, Hartley Bay, Bella Bella, Ocean Falls, Price George, Smithers, and the Alaskan town of Ketchikan.
Flights are started with a pair of de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otters, one of which is lost in an accident at Stewart on April 18, 1967. Three Grumman G-21 Goose amphibians are acquired in 1968 and a base is established at Port Hardy under management of Gene Story. A fourth G-21 arrives in 1969, the same year a replacement Otter is also acquired. The DHC-3 is followed by two more in 1970, along with a Douglas DC-3.
A second DC-3 is added in 1972 and is followed into service by a Fokker F.27 Friendship in 1973, which is employed to operate a scheduled Prince Rupert-Prince George route via Terrace and Smithers. A fifth Grumman Goose is purchased in 1974. Even after a DC-3 replaces the Fokker (which is sold to Time Air, Ltd.) on the scheduled service, traffic is too light to sustain it and the operation is halted in 1975. Another Goose joins the fleet in 1976. Two DC-3s and a Goose are sold in 1978.
Jim Pattison Industries purchases the carrier in 1979 as one of many acquired for the formation of Air BC, Ltd.; however, the carrier is allowed to retain its identity. Port Hardy is built up as a major TPA base in 1980 and the subsidiary is upgraded by the addition of a DC-3 and a Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander. An Otter is lost in a crash near Smithers on June 12, 1981. The Douglas is passed to Air BC, Ltd. in 1983, leaving TPA a largely amphibious operation, to which most of its parent’s amphibious aircraft are now assigned.
TPA is purchased from Jim Pattison in October 1986 by a group of investors headed by Port Hardy supervisor and TPA Chief Pilot Gene Story. In 1987, the fleet is reformed as two G-21s and the Islander are sold and succeeded by two de Havilland Canada DHC-6-100 Twin Otters. Charters and scheduled flights resume on a larger scale and emphasis on cargo is demonstrated by acquisition of a Bristol 170 Mk. 31 Freighter.
A second, the last of its type operational in Canada, is purchased in 1988.
Upon landing at Bronson Creek after a June 21 freight service from Wrangell, one of the Bristol 170 Mk. 31s with three crew ground-loops and runs off the runway, at which point the undercarriage collapses; although the wreck must be written off, there are no fatalities.
Operations continue apace in 1989-1992. At the beginning of 1993, General Manager Jim Soden’s fleet comprises 2 DHC-6s, 3 DHC-3s, 6 DHC-2s, 2 Bristols, and 3 Grumman G-21 Geese.
The Bristol all-cargo service is closed down in January, but the company is already in significant financial difficulty. Having overexpanded ahead of revenues, the carrier ceases operations in March.
The Bristol assets and contracts are sold by the carrier’s receivers to former Trans Provincial executives Paul Hawkins, Rod Hayward, David Menzies, and Donald Vienneau; the U. K.-made transports will resume freighter operations in August 1994 as Hawkair, Ltd.
TRANS REGIONAL AIRLINES (PTY.), LTD.: Australia (19821984). Adelaide-based PAGAS Airlines (Pty.), Ltd. is renamed Trans Regional Airlines, Ltd. in 1982. Services are maintained with 2 Embraer EMB-110s, 1 Piper PA-31-310 Navajo, and 3 Rockwell Aero Commanders to a variety of destinations in South Australia and Queensland. These include Adelaide, Andamooka, Broken Hill, Hawker, Innam-incka, Kingscote, Leigh Creek, Mount Gunson, Oodnadatta, Penneshaw, Port Augusta, and Port Pirie.
Unable to overcome the economics of poor traffic brought on by recession, the carrier is forced to shut its doors in early 1984.
TRANS SERVICE AIRLINK, S. A.: BP 14711, Kinshasa, Congo, Democratic Republic II; Phone 243 (12) 20 970; Code TSR; Year Founded 1992. Trans Service is founded at Kinshasa, Zaire, in 1992 to offer passenger charter and inclusive-tour flights to regional African destinations. Revenue operations commence with a fleet that includes 1 Boeing 727-25,2 Nord 262s, 2 Lockheed L-188 Electras, 1 Vickers Viscount 754D, and 1 Viscount 782D.
One Nord with 21 passengers fails takeoff from Kinshasa airport on January 27, 1993 and crashes; 3 aboard are killed, along with 6 people on the ground. A year later, on January 21, 1994, the L-188A is lost in an accident.
Another accident, the most horrific of the three, occurs in 1995. While operating a charter service for the Angolan political party UNITA, the last remaining Electra, an L-188C with 5 crew and 139 passengers (thus overloaded by 40 people), crashes at Kahengula just after takeoff from Jamba on December 18 (141 dead).
Despite the civil war that changes Zaire into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Managing Director Christian von Oorschot’s concern continues flying in 1996-2000. During these years, the Boeing, a Viscount, and the remaining Nord are replaced with two British Aerospace BAe (HS) 748-2As and the Bristol Britannia 253F previously operated by Trans Air Cargo, S. A.
TRANS SIERRA AIRLINES (1): United States (1971-1972). Trans Sierra is set up at Burbank, California, in 1971 to provide scheduled passenger and cargo flights linking the company’s base with Los Angeles, San Jose, Bishop, and Mammoth Lakes. Piper PA-31-310 Navajo revenue services continue until the company is reorganized into Sierra Pacific Airlines in early 1972.
TRANS SIERRA AIRLINES (2): United States (1980). The second Trans Sierra does not last as long as the first. Established at Fresno, California, in early 1980, it begins Piper PA-31-310 Navajo scheduled passenger flights to Bishop, California, but cannot maintain them until the end of the year.
TRANS SOUTHERN AIRWAYS: United States (1983-1985). Established at Florence, South Carolina, in 1983, Trans Southern, in association with Tennessee Airways, undertakes daily roundtrip scheduled third-level passenger and cargo services to Atlanta and the North Carolina city of Charlotte.
The carrier’s two Piper T-1040 turboprops continue flying these routes until the company shuts down in May 1985.
TRANS STATES AIRLINES: 9275 Genaire Drive, St. Louis, Missouri 63134, United States; Phone (314) 895-8700; Fax (314) 8951040; Http://www. transstates. net; Code 9N; Year Founded 1989. To
Better reflect its growth and to support the long-term goals of Trans World Airlines (TWA) , St. Louis-based Resort Air is renamed as Trans States Airlines in June 1989. President Hulas Knodia oversees a workforce of 420 and operates a fleet of 15 Fairchild Metro Il/UIs and the first 2 of 5 ordered ATR42-320s that had been received during the spring. The airline makes an unsuccessful bid to takeover Air Midwest during the summer. Three more ATR42-320s join the fleet by December and orders are placed for ATR72-200s. All are painted in a red and white modified version of the major’s livery.
Enplanements for the year under both names total 491,580 passengers, a 47.6% boost.
In 1990, two Metro lis are withdrawn and a sixth ATR42-320 is acquired. Orders remain outstanding for ATR72s.
Late in the fall, the other St. Louis “TWExpress” carrier, Air Midwest, agrees to become a subsidiary of Mesa Airlines. Citing market conditions, it agrees to sell its operation there to Trans States.
Enplanements for the year total 594,395, a 20.8% boost.
The fleet totals 52 aircraft in 1991. On February 1, Air Midwest President Robert Priddy sells his company’s St. Louis operation to Trans States for $12 million. Along with route authority, TSA receives 8 Em-braer EMB-120 Brasilias and 15 British Aerospace BAe Jetstream 31s. Also included in the acquisition are ground station and maintenance equipment plus fuel in ground in 19 cities, options on 15 more Jetstream 31s, and $7.4 million in long-term debt.
The first ATR72-202 is delivered in April and introduced into service on the longer route segments.
These moves assist passenger boardings to skyrocket 88.6% to pass the million mark for the first time (1,121,291). Revenues total $93.62 million and expenses are $89.85 million, guaranteeing an operating profit of $3.76 million. Net gain is $1.54 million.
In 1992, the number of Metros is reduced to 6, while the number of Jetstreams is increased to 22. The TWA parent begins to replace Trans States service, using jetliners, from St. Louis to Chicago (MDW), Louisville, Lincoln, and Knoxville. Frequencies on the route from St. Louis to Springfield, Illinois, are increased to 10 daily roundtrips.
Customer bookings this year swell a further 44.5% to 1,322,183 and revenues reach $106 million. Expenses are held down and allow profits: $3.65 million (operating) and $238,649 (net).
In 1993, President Kanodia oversees a workforce of 933 and a fleet of 43 aircraft. In the spring, a new company, UFS (United Feeder Service, Incorporated), is formed to take over Air Wisconsin’s remaining BAe ATP turboprop operations. In June, TSA becomes an associate member of CASE (Coordinating Agency for Supplier Evaluation). It will become a sustaining member during the second quarter of 1994.
The great Midwestern floods of the summer and fall impact traffic. Still, the ATP purchase from United Airlines is effective on September 1. On that date, the nine repainted British propeller-liners, flying under the direction of special projects manager Gary Santos, inaugurate scheduled UFS flights from Chicago (ORD) to Akron/Canton, Youngstown, Fort Wayne, and Green Bay.
Other company destinations now visited in the East include Birmingham, Bloomington, Burlington, Cape Girardeau, Cedar Rapids, Champaign, Chicago (Meigs Field and MDW), Columbia, Decatur, Evansville, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Fort Leonard Wood, Joplin, Knoxville, Lexington, Lincoln, Louisville, Memphis, Madison, Marion, Moline, Paducah, Peoria, Sioux City, South Bend, Springfield, Illinois, Springfield, Missouri, Quincy, and Waterloo.
In December, the “USAir Express” routes of StatesWest Airlines, which had failed in October, are assumed. The company’s new California division provides service to 10 cities with operational control functions provided from St. Louis.
Passenger boardings ascend only 5% to 1,387,865, but revenues rise 8.7% to $115.16 million. Expenses climb only 2.1% to $104.43 million and allow operating profits to triple up to $10.72 million. Net gain surges to $8.26 million.
Airline employment is reduced by 3.6% in 1994 to 900.
The Jetstream 31s, wearing Trans States livery, are assigned to a new hub at Los Angeles, where, in early April, they take over the “USAir Express” service previously operated by defunct StatesWest Airlines. Destinations visited by the British-made turboprops include Sacramento, Monterey, Fresno, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Palm Springs.
During July, Northwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines reach agreement with Trans States to offer code-sharing on the commuter flights out of Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco to seven California cities. This innovative arrangement is the first triple code-sharing agreement in the United States.
In November, a $420-million order is placed for 25 Jetstream 41s, with options for 10 more. Also during the month, four daily J-31 “TWExpress” roundtrips are introduced from St. Louis to Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The year’s customer bookings recover, shooting up 22.5% to 1,662,135. Revenues advance by 25.2% to $144.22 million, while expenses rise only 18.5% to $123.74 million. The resulting operating surplus doubles to $20.48 million, while the net profit more than doubles to $18.5 million.
The workforce is reduced to 750 in 1995, but the fleet is increased by the addition of 12 Jetstream 41s, beginning with three initial deliveries, one each in January, February, and May. The new aircraft replace EMB-120s on a one-for-one basis on the 200-400 mile sectors out of St. Louis, including Birmingham, Sioux City, and Evansville. Meanwhile, the last Metro is sold in March.
When, on November 6, Trans World Airlines (TWA) shuts down TWExpress, which it had purchased as Pan Am Express (formerly Ran-some Airlines) out of the assets of its onetime rival a few years earlier, its East Coast services are contracted out to Trans States.
President Kanoida’s growing regional also maintains its TWA link at St. Louis and its “USAir Express” service on the West Coast. All remaining EMB-120s are withdrawn in December as the last of 12 J-41s arrive. Trans States is now the largest airline at Lambert Field save Trans World Airlines (TWA) itself.
Enplanements inch up 1.5% to 1,725,000. Revenues exceed costs and leave profits: $12.58 million (operating) and $11.66 million (net), both figures down from the previous year.
The employee population is boosted 24.5% in 1996 to 934. The fleet now includes 3 ATR72-202s, 8 ATR42-300s, 33 Jetstream 31s, and 12 Jetstream 41s, with 13 more of the latter on order and options for 35 more. The newer aircraft are painted in a striking new livery based on that introduced by Trans World Airlines (TWA) the previous October.
On May 1, daily roundtrips are introduced between Gary Regional Airport and Champagne, Illinois, with connecting service to St. Louis. Addition of the former “TWExpress” routes provides a traffic bonanza as passenger boardings jump 23% to 2,121,000, on 160,668 scheduled departures.
Operating income accelerates 34.5% to $190.67 million and expenses are up only 26.6% to $163.56 million. The operating profit more than doubles to $27.1 million and a $26.17 million net profit is posted.
The employee population is increased by 7.1% in 1997 to 1,000. Early in the year, the company begins to receive additional J-41s painted in the updated red, blue, and gold color scheme of the parent. Four-times-per-weekday “USAirways Express” Jetstream 31 nonstops commence on October 1 between Sacramento and Santa Barbara.
In December, a letter of intent is signed for seven Embraer ERJ-145 Amazons, with seven options.
Passenger boardings accelerate 12.5% to 2,386,000 on 174,740 scheduled departures. Operating revenues rise 9.7% to $208.36 million. Expenses jump 12.1% to $183.16 million and cause the operating profit to slide to $25.2 million. Net gain drops to $24.69 million.
The fleet at the beginning of 1998 includes 6 ATR42s, 3 ATR72s, 35 BAe Jetstream 32s, 25 Jetstream 41s, and 4 ERJ-145s.
A “Delta Connection” contract is entered into with Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines during January covering feed at New York (JFK). The incumbent “Delta Connection” partner, Business Express (BEX), shifts its emphasis to New York (LGA) and Boston when the new TSA contract begins in April.
At the Asian Aerospace Show in early 1998, the company places orders for 9 more ERJ-145s, with options taken on 18 more. Upon their arrival, starting in June, most of the new ERJ regional jets, painted in the modified colors of United Airlines, are employed on “United Express” services out of Chicago (ORD).
With receipt of the sixth ERJ-145, painted its own Trans States color scheme, the regional, on November 1, initiates thrice-daily “Delta Connection” jet service from Raleigh/Durham to New York (JFK).
After five months of unsuccessful contact negotiations with management, the ALPA local chapter on November 19 requests the intervention of the NMB in the discussions.
At the end of the month, the carrier converts its option to purchase 9 more ERJ-145s, bringing its total confirmed order to 15. Options remain for 12 others.
During the 12 months, customer bookings climb 2.69% to 2.45 million. Revenues climb 5.6% to $220.08 million, while costs are up 9.2% to $199.89 million. Operating gain slides to $20.18 million, while the net profit drops to $18.94 million.
Airline employment has been cut by 6.6%, to 799, in 1999.
The company begins to receive its first ERJ-145 ExpressJets during the early summer. On July 21, it is announced that the new aircraft will be employed, beginning on September 19, to inaugurate “Delta Connection” return flights between Boston and Philadelphia, eight times a day. The new service will be increased by four more frequencies on November 15.
The existing “TWExpress” contract with Trans World Airlines (TWA) is renewed on August 20.
Thrice-daily ERJ-145 roundtrips are inaugurated on December 5 from Atlanta to New York (LGA).
Passenger boardings drop 2.7% to 2,384,000. Although revenues are up 4.2% to $229.41 million, expenses jump 14.8% to $229.55 million. The previous year’s profits become losses: $138,000 (operating) and $1.8 million (net).
Airline employment at the beginning of 2000 stands at 2,402, a 3.3% decline over the previous 12 months.
The number of daily ERJ-145 return flights to Colombia, South Carolina, from New York (LGA) is increased on February 10 from one to three; those to Charleston are increased from one to two. On April 5, the carrier’s ERJ-145s are assigned to take over 4 of 12 USAirways Shuttle roundtrips between Washington, D. C. (lAD) and Boston.
On April 14, plans are announced by USAirways for a massive increase and expansion of regional services from New York (LGA) in the period between July and October. New flights, some of which will also be flown by USAirways Express (Mesa Air Group), will start to Bedford, Binghamton, Elmira, Manassas, Richmond, Roanoke, Greensboro, and Greenville-Spartanburg. Present frequencies will be increased in number to Albany and Syracuse, Baltimore, Birmingham, Burlington, Charleston, Columbia, Charlottesville, Norfolk, Harrisburg, Hyannis, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Portland, and Providence. Additionally, ERJ-145 “TWExpress” service is initiated from St. Louis to Fayetteville and Peoria.
Having been in negotiations with its pilots since November 1998, Trans States’ ALPA-represented pilots commence informational picketing at St. Louis and New York (JFK) on May 15. The action comes in the last phase of a government-required 30-day “cooling off’ period. The company narrowly avoids a strike on May 27 when it comes to terms with its 530 ALPA-represented flyers. The 11th hour agreement avoids a job action that could have shut down the carrier’s operations from New York (JFK) and St. Louis.
In something of a surprise, the carrier’s ALPA-represented pilots vote on July 10 to reject the new May 27 contract and indicate a desire to reopen negotiations. While bidding for a new contract, the pilots picket (informational only) company headquarters on July 24. With a job action only hours away on July 26, the company and its ALPA-represented pilots reach an agreement on a new contract.
It is announced on September 15 that Trans States will cease operations as a “Delta Connection” carrier by March 31. Prior to that date, the company will gradually transfer most of its “Delta Connection” routes by January 1 to Atlantic Coast Airlines, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, and Comair. Flights from New York (JFK) and Cleveland to Boston will be operated under the company’s own name thereafter.
On December 2, twice-daily “USAirways Express” Jetstream 41 roundtrips are initiated between Baltimore and Newburgh, New York, while thrice-daily “USAirways Express” J-41 return flights begin from Newark to Richmond, Virginia.
As the result of a spring law allowing an increase in traffic, New York (LGA) has, by early December, added more than 200 new daily flights and requests have been made that will increase the daily total by almost 600. In an effort to handle an increase certain to exacerbate existing delays and congestion, the FAA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey begin coordinating planning while imposing a September moratorium on new La Guardia flights.
On December 4, the FAA holds an action to distribute the available takeoff and landing slots. Each carrier serving the airport draws a certain number, with each then choosing lots for first choice of times for those slots. “USAirways Express” receives 20 of the new positions. In a supplemental auction for the slots previously assigned to defunct Legend Airlines, “USAirways Express” receives an additional slot.
As the year ends, it is announced that the carrier will begin daily “US-Airways Express” ERJ-145 flights from Baltimore (BWI) to Charleston, West Virginia, on April 1 and from Memphis to Pittsburgh on April 6.
Overall customer bookings during these 12 months fall another 26.01% to 1,764,000.
TRANS TEXAS AIRWAYS: United States (1940-1969). R. Earl McKaughan organizes the aircraft sales and service company Aviation Enterprises at Houston in 1940. After appealing to the CAB for local service authority in 1943, McKaughan incorporates on November 14, 1944. Following the Texas-Oklahoma Route Case, the government awards five routes in 1946 to be effective as of May 12, 1947. The corporate name is altered to Trans Texas Airways on June 21 of the latter year, and scheduled Douglas DC-3 services are inaugurated on October 11.
McKaughan’s Douglases fly two routes from Houston: one to San Angelo via Palestine, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Brownwood and the other to San Antonio via Victoria. At year’s end, frequencies are started from San Antonio and San Angelo to El Paso. Extensions on these routes are made south and east in 1948 to Brownsville and to Beaumont and Port Arthur.
By 1949, the route system of Trans Texas boxes in an area from El Paso in the west to Dallas in the north to Galveston in the east and Brownsville in the south.
Five years later, in April 1953, services are extended northward to various large and small markets, including Shreveport, Pine Bluff, and Memphis. The carrier’s 20 DC-3s, now called Super Starliners, maintain these routes for six years. In April 1959, the network is enlarged by the opening of additional markets at New Orleans and Little Rock.
A DC-3 with 20 aboard encounters severe turbulence over Dallas on May 29, 1960; the flight attendant is badly hurt. Another flight attendant is killed when the Douglas on which she is serving loses its brakes and crashes into a parked DC-7B at Houston on July 22.
As successor to its DC-3s, the carrier places the first of 25 Convair CV-240s into service on April 1, 1961. These are employed during the remainder of the year and into 1962 to maintain current operations initiate new service along routes transferred from California Airlines; additional destinations now include Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Clovis.
The CAB permits nonstop Houston to Austin flights as of November 12, 1963. On November 19, service begins to Dallas from Houston.
Enplanements for the year total 310,080.
Trans Texas experiences the greatest growth in the local airline industry during 1964. Airline employment is now 1,277 and the fleet includes 48 aircraft. As a consequence of additional route awards made late in the previous year in the Southwestern Area Local Service Case, the carrier now adds 13 new markets in Texas and New Mexico. In September, the company makes its first public stock offering; it is the last local service airline to do so.
In late fall, President McKaughan announces plans to reengine his 25 Convairliners with Rolls Royce turboprops, thereby converting them into CV-600s. The $14-million upgrade will also allow for the simultaneous installation of ground and in-flight air conditioning.
Passenger boardings skyrocket 56.5% to 712,827, a new high in customer traffic for the airline. Operating revenues jump 44.6% to $18.7 million and expenses climb but 41.2%, leaving a profit of $1 million.
The workforce in 1965 grows to 1,472 and the fleet is reduced to 43 aircraft. Twenty-five of these machines are Convair CV-240s that will now receive a $15-million conversion; Rolls Royce RDa10 Dart turboprops and new interiors will vastly improve the old piston engine machines. Orders are placed for seven DC-9s, five in CF configuration. A First Rider promotion is undertaken that allows a $25 roundtrip fare to customers who have not previously flown. A CV-240 with 10 aboard makes a ground loop while landing at College Station, Texas, on November 8; several aboard are badly hurt.
Bookings climb 29.4% to 922,367.
A key year in the history of Trans Texas Airways is 1966. By February 1, its route network has been significantly strengthened by the receipt of 13 Texas and New Mexico markets from other airlines and by Eastern Air Lines’ withdrawal from all stops on its Houston-New Orleans run. When Trans Texas introduces its CV-600 Silver Clouds on the Houston to Dallas via Beaumont service on March 1, it virtually has control of the entire feeder route system of the U. S. Southwest.
On August 17, the company becomes an international airline through a CAB award of operating rights from south Texas cities to Monterrey, Tampico, and Vera Cruz in Mexico. The year ends on a high note when, on October 30, the carrier becomes the fifth local service carrier to introduce the Douglas DC-9; its seven new DC-9-10s will cost $51 million and are called Pamper Jets.
Enplanements for the year are 1,184,220 and revenues are $20,572,000.
As a result of this expansion, Trans Texas goes into a financial tail-spin in 1967. The workforce now stands at 2,021 and the fleet includes 30 aircraft: 3 CV-240s, 17 CV-600s, 8 DC-3s, and 2 DC-9-10s. Orders are placed or remain outstanding for 2 DC-9-30s and 8 CV-600s. In August, a new computerized reservations system comes on-line at Houston (HOU), where a new headquarters facility is also occupied. A new hangar is opened at Midland/Odessa and another begins construction at Dallas (DAL).
In October, Chairman McKaughan retires to become chairman emeritus; his son, Richard, already president, becomes CEO, with J. L. Herring as vice president-operations. Sixteen DC-3s and spares are sold in November for $783,000. Five more DC-9-10s have joined the fleet since spring and the 7 jetliners provide all-jet service to 20 of the company’s 65 markets.
Passenger boardings climb 19% to 1,462,000 and revenues jump 26% to $27.8 million.
The employee population in 1968 numbers 1,961 and the fleet includes 34 aircraft. A number of new terminal facilities are completed or are nearly so and the company’s International, Inc. subsidiary purchases control of the Hotel Conquistador, Inc. holding company for control of the Las Vegas landmark, the Tropicana Hotel. The transition of the fleet to all-jet aircraft is completed in October: 11 DC-9s and 25 CV-600s.
During the fourth quarter, control of the corporation passes to Minnesota Enterprises. By merging into a wholly owned Delaware subsidiary, stockholders now vote to change the company name and corporate image the following spring.
For this year, passenger bookings accelerate 33.5% to 1,905,050 and cargo traffic jumps 50.2%. Revenues are $41,419,019.
The new owners order the introduction of Houston to Denver service on March 1, 1969 with an extension to Salt Lake City on April 1. Nonstop San Antonio to Dallas flights begin the same day. And before sundown, a change in corporate identity occurs as Trans Texas becomes Texas International Airlines.
TRANS TRAVELAIRLINES, B. V.: Arendweg 21, 8218 PE Lelystad Airport, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Phone 31 (0) 320 28 84 00; Fax 31 (0) 320 28 84 01; Http://www. tta. nl; Year Founded 1985. Tur-dus Airways, B. V. is etablished as an FBO at Rotterdam in 1985. Over the next decade, it also comes to operate general aviation, aircraft leasing, air taxi, and air ambulance services.
In May 1996, Turdus Airways establishes a scheduled airline division, TTA. L. Maars is named president, with Mrs. A. de Groot as director general. Employing 2 de Havilland Canada DHC-8-100s plus the Tur-dus Beech Super King Air 200, the company inaugurates revenue services in October with thrice-daily roundtrips to Hamburg. Service is maintained over this single route during the next year and a total of 12,500 passengers are flown. During the year, interline agreements are signed with KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines, N. V.), Sabena Belgian World Airlines, S. A., and British Airways, Ltd. (2).
On May 3, 1998, a new route is opened from Rotterdam to Goteborg, Sweden, operated with a Beech 1900D. In December, a homepage is launched on the Internet’s World Wide Web. Enplanements for the year reach 30,000.
A third route, from Rotterdam to Copenhagen, is inaugurated on August 2, 1999. It, too, is operated with the Beech 1900D. Passenger boardings climb to 40,000.
Airline employment at the beginning of 2000 stands at 40. All 3 company routes are now operated thrice-daily.
TRANS UNION AIRLINES, S. A.: France (1967-1971) . Trans Union is established in 1967 to operate passenger charters throughout Europe and Africa. Revenue operations begins and continue with a fleet of 3 Douglas DC-6Bs, previously owned by Sabena Belgian World Airlines, S. A. Upon its failure in September 1971, the carrier is purchased for its aircraft by Europe Aero Service, S. A.
TWA AIRLINES: One City Center, 515 North 6th Street, St. Louis, Missouri 63101, United States; Phone (314) 589-3000; Fax (314) 589-3129; Http://www. twa. com; Code tW; Year Founded 1950. In
Keeping with its global service pattern, Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc. (TWA) is renamed on May 17, 1950, but is adroitly able to retain its previous company initials. New logos and liveries are introduced. The company is certified to serve 60 cities in the U. S. The company’s coast-to-coast, one-way fares at this time are $157.85 ($110 Sky Coach), a considerable savings over the 1929 TAT price of $351.94.
The L-049 Constellation Star of the Mediterranean is badly damaged in a nonfatal crash landing at Pittsburgh on May 23; the DC-4s employed earlier to offer daytime coast-to-coast service are replaced by L-049s, beginning on May 25. On June 19, 4.33 million revenue passenger miles are flown in a single day—a company record. The L-049 Star of Greece is damaged at St. Joseph, Missouri, on June 21 when a fire breaks out in engine nacelle No. 1 before takeoff on a training flight.
While awaiting delivery of an order for 40 Martin 4-0-4s, TWA agrees to lease 12 unpressurized 2-0-2As. The first, Skyliner Burbank, is delivered on July 14.
En route from Bombay to New York on August 30, a Lockheed L-749A with 7 crew and 48 passengers crashes near Wadi Natrun, in Egypt’s Nile Delta near Cairo; there are no survivors.
The next day, Martin 2-0-2As are introduced on a route from New York to Kansas City, as well as other short domestic segments. When the White House overturns the CAB recommendation on September 25 allowing Pan American World Airways (1) to purchase American Overseas Airlines, it also makes certain that the regulators grant TWA permission to service London and Frankfurt. All-cargo coast-to-coast DC-4 flights begin on November 13 while, on December 5, orders are placed for 10 L-1049A Super Constellations.
During the year, all interest in Aerovias Brazil, S. A. and British West Indies Airways, Ltd. are sold. The fleet now comprises 61 Constellations, the world’s largest fleet of postwar 4-engine commercial aircraft yet assembled. In addition, 12 Douglas DC-4s, 58 DC-3s, and 5 Boeing 307 Stratoliners are inventoried. Frequencies are maintained over 4 continents and transatlantic enplanements are 66,000.
The L-049 Star of the China Sea is damaged on January 5, 1951 when it is forced to make a belly landing at Phoenix. Impressed with the record-breaking flight of the Avro Canada, Ltd. C-102 prototype between Toronto-Chicago-New York-Toronto on January 10, Howard Hughes charters the Jetliner as his private aircraft for the next year. L-749As, outfitted in a deluxe 18-berth sleeper layout, inaugurate The London Ambassador service on April 8.
The L-049 Star of Egypt is leased to Lockheed on April 13 for Jet Stack tests; the Constellation is returned on May 17 as the first of her type with Jet Stacks. The five Boeing 307 Stratoliners are withdrawn in April and sold to the French independent airline Societe Aigle Azur, S. A. (SAA) between May and July.
Five additional L-749As, plus three taken over from a Delta Air Lines order, are delivered during the first two quarters. The new L-749A Star of Colorado is delivered to Howard Hughes in June; it will never enter TWA service. Shareholding in TAE is reduced to 15.4% at the beginning of July. During the same month, a Missouri River flood submerges the company overhaul base at Fairfax Municipal Airport, near Kansas City, under 15 feet of water. TWA employees are able to rescue three DC-3s, a DC-4, a Martin 2-0-2A, and an L-049. In the aftermath, Kansas City and TWA begin development of a new, flood-proof TWA overhaul base and a new international airport north of the city.
Marking the anniversary of a Columbus voyage, the carrier undertakes Madrid to New York L-749A flights on August 3.
The first of nearly 50 Martin 4-0-4s, christened Skyliner Baltimore for the city where it was built, is placed into service on October 5; the type is the first in the fleet painted in the attractive white crown skin livery. Upon the assumption of full control of TACA (Transportes Aereos Centros Americanos, S. A.) by the Waterman Steamship Company, TWA sells all of its remaining shares in the Honduran enterprise. Transatlantic boardings accelerate to 73,000.
Beginning on January 3, 1952, the carrier replaces its DC-3s with Martin 4-0-4s on its routes from New York, Washington, D. C., and Kansas City. To end a fare war begun late the previous year, TWA, on January 9, agrees to the introduction, with American Airlines and United Air Lines, of a $99 transcontinental coach-class service; $99 coast-to-coast Sky Tourist fares are introduced on January 11.
When a curious soldier tests it, the emergency door of a Martin 2-0-2A en route from Pittsburgh to Chicago on February 24, is jettisoned; the plane is able to safely return to Pittsburgh. Also in February, the CAB grants the airline permanent rights to transport passengers to Paris and Rome via Ireland.
Three are hurt when a gasoline truck, refueling an unoccupied Constellation at Idlewild Airport on April 21, catches fire. Boston to London and New York to Paris Sky Tourist flights commence on May 1; the roundtrip fare is $486 with $4 extra for meals; there is no liquor provided. The first TWA Ambassadors Cup is opened at Greater Pittsburgh Airport on May 2.
A permanent certificate for Bombay service is received from the CAB in June. Daylight L-1049A transcontinental service begins on September 10 and, on September 10-11 the Super Constellations introduce transcontinental Ambassador deluxe sleeper service. At this point, the practice of naming selected flights is dropped and all coast-to-coast services are flown under the Ambassador label. Also in September, the last 4-0-4 is delivered.
On October 1, it is reported that the 21,000 tourists were flown between May 1 and August 31; simultaneously, it is noted that a record 183 million revenue passenger miles are flown in September.
The New York to San Francisco Super Constellation frequency is doubled on October 22 to twice daily. Although the eastbound service is made nonstop in under 8 hours, the westbound run must still stop at Chicago.
Also during the fall, President Damon accepts an invitation from the Newcomen Society to address a dinner in New York City; as is the Society’s customs, his remarks are published in a small pamphlet, TWA: Nearly Three Decades in the Air.
A total of 90,000 customers are transported across the Atlantic this year and TWA’s interest in Linee Aeree Italiane, S. p.A. (LIA) is reduced to 30%.
A 10% stock dividend is paid in January 1953. On April 1, an interline agreement is signed with Chicago & Southern Air Lines allowing both companies to offer through-plane service from New York to Houston using, where necessary, each other’s stops en route. The L-049 Star of the China Sea is damaged at Baltimore on May 2 when an oxygen bottle explodes, causing a fire in the cockpit and forward cabin.
A new one-day record of 10.18 million revenue passenger miles is celebrated on June 14, but company navigators go on strike between July 10-21. A three-year contract is signed with the government of Ethiopia on July 28, renewing the 1945 support agreement for the operation of Ethiopian Airlines, S. C.
Daily nonstop San Francisco to Las Vegas service begins on August 4, followed by twice-weekly flights from the U. S. to Ceylon beginning on August 30. L-1049C Ambassador service is opened between New York and Los Angeles and Los Angeles to New York on October 19. Eastbound flights, advertised as the first scheduled nonstop transcontinental flights, can be made nonstop in 8 hours or less while the westbound service, still fighting the wind, must refuel at Chicago.
During the summer, the Bombay terminus is stretched to Ceylon and orders are placed on September 12 for 20 L-1049Es.
North Atlantic bookings pass the 100,000 mark for the first time (107,000), while systemwide, the year’s boardings exceed 3 million.
A Super Constellation flies from New York to Paris on January 12, 1954 in a record 10 hrs. 12 min; the record is lost to Air France the next day. Six days later, an L-1049A flies from San Francisco to Chicago in a record 5 hrs. 7 min. New York to London all-cargo service is opened on February 16.
While landing at Albuquerque on April 21, an L-1049A rams into a USAF barracks; fortunately, no injuries are reported. On May 18, U. S.-German all-cargo flights are launched. Also during the spring, an appeal is filed with the CAB seeking the substitution of Tokyo for the Shanghai terminus granted earlier; it is not granted. Through May and into June, the company takes possession of three L-749As purchased from Chicago & Southern Air Lines.
Two-way nonstop New York to San Francisco L-1049A flights begin on June 19, followed by a nonstop New York to Los Angeles service on September 19. Howard Hughes’ L-749A Star of Colorado is sold to British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) in the fall to help that carrier add capacity in the wake of the failure of its Comet I jetliners.
A total of 118,000 passengers are flown over the Atlantic.
While on a January 12, 1955, scheduled service, a Martin 2-0-2A with 3 crew and 10 passengers suffers a midair collision at 900 feet over Covington with a Castleton, Inc. DC-3 executive aircraft, with two crew, which is operating in the area without clearance. Both aircraft crash and there are no survivors; this is the carrier’s first domestic fatal accident since December 1944.
In cooperation with Braniff International Airways, an interchange service is inaugurated on January 14 from Dallas to Las Vegas via Amarillo using TWAL-749As.
Flight 260, Martin 404 Skyliner Binghamton with 3 crew and 16 passengers en route from Albuquerque to Santa Fe on the first leg of a flight to Baltimore, disappears into the mountains near the former New Mexico city on February 19. The wreckage is later found at the 11,000-ft. level of 13,000-ft. Sandia Mountain and there are no survivors. The CAB Bureau of Safety will find that the aircraft’s pilot, Capt. Ivan Spong, had intentionally flown off course.
Equipped with wing-tanks, the L-1049G Star of Chambord is received on March 14 and enters service on April 1. Also in April, the carrier is allowed to begin flying into Zurich.
On June 1, the Greek government acquires operational control of TAE Greek Airlines, S. A. An L-1049A with 67 aboard makes a forced landing at Iowa City on August 7; however, no injuries are reported. A CAB ruling in September allows the carrier to substitute a stop at Detroit for one at Pittsburgh on its New York-Chicago route. Two-class service (Sky Tourist and First Class) are introduced by Super Gs on September 25, the first such same-plane split in the U. S. industry.
Super Gs are assigned to international service for the first time on October 30, flying Los Angeles to London in the first California-U. K. frequency offered by an American airline. As a result of the CAB’s Denver Service Case, TWA wins access to the Colorado capital on November 14. North Atlantic bookings reach 127,000.
President Damon dies on January 4, 1956 and John Collings is appointed his acting CEO successor. Two-class transatlantic service is initiated between New York and London, Paris, Rome, and Frankfurt, on January 9 and four days later, on January 13, company Martins begin stopping at Denver.
The L-749A interchange service from Dallas to Las Vegas via Amarillo ends on March 1. On March 3, the number of flights is increased to 100 per week and service is added to Athens and Cairo. The L-049 Star of Africa hits an automobile with its propeller at Denver on March 11; no injuries are reported.
An order is placed for 18 Boeing 707-331s on March 19. In the first major commercial air disaster of the year, the wingtip of a Martin 4-0-4 with 3 crew and 33 passengers hits a hillside just after takeoff from Pittsburgh on April 1, causing the airliner to crash and burn (22 dead).
New York to Washington, D. C. service is opened on April 30.
Orders are placed for 30 Convair CV-880s on June 21.
The worst civil aviation disaster to date occurs on June 30. Flight 2, the company’s L-1049G Super Constellation Star of the Seine, and Flight 718, the United Air Lines DC-7 Mainliner Vancouver, are both en route eastward 3 minutes apart from Los Angeles. With heavy thunderstorms in the area and both aircraft in similar patterns, the Lockheed seeks permission to fly 1,000-ft. above the 20,000-ft. cloud ceiling where the Douglas is cruising. Permission is granted and the airliners collide 21,000 feet over Arizona’s Grand Canyon (128 dead).
The accident will receive intense media exposure and lead to calls for government changes in the nation’s air traffic control situation. Donald
B. Jr. and Michael B. McComb review “Final Destination: The Story of Flight 2 and Flight 718” in Airliners 5 (Spring 1992): 41-47.
The CAB grants routes to Manila and Bangkok in early fall and on October 1 the company joins with American Export Lines to organize the first combined air-sea European cruises. Designed to compete with the DC-7C, the first of 25 L-1649 Starliners slated for the carrier makes its maiden flight on October 11; the giant piston-engine airliner will be the first capable of flying nonstop either way across the North Atlantic.
A Martin 4-0-4 with 3 crew and 35 passengers is wrecked as the result of a bad landing at Las Vegas on November 15; there are no fatalities.
Also during the last quarter, the L-049s Star of Ireland, Star of China, Star of Greece, Star of Lebanon, and Star of Lisbon are chartered to Eastern Air Lines for a year or less. On December 17, the board elects Carter L. Burgess as president.
Transatlantic enplanements are 142,000.
When Aristotle Onassis takes control of TAE Greek Airlines, S. A. on January 1, 1957, he purchases TWA’s 15.4% interest. The carrier receives a contract from Ethiopia on January 26 to train its airline’s pilots. Beginning under a February 16 ICA contract, officials inspect Air India, Ltd. operations in order to recommend improvements; longtime Hughes associate and board member Noah Dietrich is removed from his offices on March 11.
L-749 Sky Tourist service is introduced in April and also during the month, a 21-year-old DC-3 employed for training purposes is sold to Cruzeiro do Sul, S. A. The first of 25 ordered Lockheed L-1649A Star-liners is delivered on May 26 and christened Star of Vermont. It is followed by the arrival of the Star of Ebro on May 31.
Employing the new Starliners, TWA commences nonstop Jetstream service New York to London and Paris on June 1. The next day, a leased Lockheed C-121A is delivered to Ethiopian Airlines, S. C. Complete with the Lion of Judah insignia in gold on its forward fuselage, the aircraft is outfitted with a removable stateroom for Emperor Haile Selassie. By June 15, 10 Starliners are in service and several are placed on the nonstop Ambassador service from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Frankfurt becomes a Jetstream destination on July 1. Two engines take fire on a July 10 scheduled flight by the Ethiopian C-121A north of Khartoum and the plane crash-lands; although no injuries are reported, the Constellation is so badly damaged that it must be written off. The twentieth L-1639A is delivered on July 26. In mid-August, L-1649As begin flying from Boston to Los Angeles and from Washington, D. C. to San Francisco.
When Linee Aeree Italiane, S. p.A. (LIA) is merged into Alitalia, S. p.A. on September 1, all TWA interest is withdrawn in the former. The final Constellation model is also used to launch flights from Los Angeles to London over a Great Circle polar route on September 29 and on October 1, flights begin to Manila and Bangkok. Los Angeles and San Francisco to Paris and Rome L-1649A flights begin over the Great Circle route on October 2. A refueling stop is made at Frobisher Bay, on Baffin Island, where Imperial Oil has just installed new fuel tanks. Simultaneously, the first nonstop New York to Rome service is inaugurated, again with L-1649As.
TWA occupies its new $25-million maintenance and overhaul base at the new Mid-Continent International Airport at Kansas City, having transferred these activities over from its longtime facilities at Municipal Airport, where flight operations continue. During the third quarter, the L-049s Star of India, Star of London, and Star of Rome are leased to Eastern Air Lines for a year or less.
The L-049 Star of Switzerland is damaged at St. Louis on December
19 when it goes into a ground loop during a turn off a wet runway and the right gear collapses. Carter Burgess resigns on December 31, the same day Howard Hughes authorizes an order for 9 L-1049H freighters, 2 of which are delivered within 24 hours.
A loss of $1.5 million is suffered on the year. A total of 154,000 people are flown over the Atlantic.
The first edition of Ambassaor Magazine is published in January 1958 Also at the beginning of the year, three L-1049H Super Constellations owned by California Eastern Aviation (CEA) and operated by the Argentine carrier Transcontinental, S. A. are leased for three years at $45,000 per month per plane. Originally ordered by Resort Airlines, two other L-1049Hs are also received, along with four purchased from Lockheed.
On March 3, an L-1649A with 28 aboard flies nonstop from London to San Francisco in a record time of 19 hrs. 5 min. Late in the month, the DC-4 Le Moulmein Pagoda is withdrawn and sold to Eastern Aircraft Sales. Economy-class service is introduced on international flights on April 1 while retired chain-store official Charles S. “Two-Pants Charlie” Thomas succeeds Carter Burgess as president on July 2.
The unlucky L-049 Star of the China Sea is damaged in yet another ground accident, this time at San Francisco on August 13 when a jack collapses during a maintenance check. On October 6, the leased CEA L-1049Hs commences twice-weekly New York-London all-cargo services. A job action by members of the lAM ground the airline between November 21 and December 8.
The company’s premier Boeing 707-131 Stratoliner makes its maiden flight at Renton, Washington, on December 3. The fleet now comprises 8 DC-4s, 71 L-049s and L-749s, 41 L-1049s, 29 L-1649As, and 48 Martins.
North Atlantic enplanements reach 161,000 and the year’s loss totals only $700,000.
The company’s premier B-707-131 is delivered on January 29, 1959. Pioneer and 12-year President William John “Jack” Frye is killed in an automobile accident on February 3. The carrier’s first B-707-131 is readied for service on March 17. Piloted by Capt. Gordon Granger, Flight 46, the new Stratoliner, inaugurates the company’s first pure jet service from San Francisco to New York on March 20.
On April 1, B-707-131 frequencies are started from New York to Los Angeles. On April 13, service to Manila is halted; however, six days later, Stratoliner service is launched from Chicago to Los Angeles. Baltimore to Los Angeles and San Francisco jetliner frequencies start on June 1.
An L-1649A is employed on June 5 in a last-ditch attempt to snatch traffic for piston-engine airliners in the contest with the new jets; nonstop Chicago to London service begins on that day and is flown in 13 hrs. 10 min. The London-Chicago return is executed in 15 hrs. 50 min. Another B-707-131 is delivered on June 8. Although it had been the first Stratoliner built for the company, its delivery has been delayed by almost three months.
The L-1049G Star of Edinburgh suffers a fuselage failure during pressurization tests on June 24; the plane is written off after the accident and sold to California Airmotive, where it will be rebuilt as an L-1049H.
Flight 891, an L-1649A with 9 crew and 59 passengers explodes when lightning hits its fuel tank, causing the aircraft to crash in a thunderstorm
20 mi. NW of Milan, Italy, on June 26; there are no survivors.
Stratoliner service is inaugurated from Chicago to San Francisco on
July 1 and from New York to St. Louis on July 21. Between July 30 and August 5, the carrier’s new B-707-331 is flown to Moscow to pick up newsmen covering Vice President Richard M. Nixon’s Russia visit; Nixon flies the airliner as far as Keflavik, holding a press conference while on board. Meanwhile, B-707-123 service is begun on August 2 from Kansas City to Los Angeles.
Four-times-per-week all-cargo services are instituted between New York and Rome during October. Later in the month, all L-1649As used for transcontinental flights complete configuration into economy - and coach-class. The first two of 12 B-707-331s are delivered on November 10.
B-707-331 transatlantic service begins, New York to London and Frankfurt, on November 23. North Atlantic bookings made prior to late November aboard piston-engine L-1649As, drop significantly, down to 146,000.
On November 24, shortly after takeoff for Los Angeles from Chicago (MDW), one of the engines of Flight 595, an L-749F with three crew, takes fire, forcing the plane to return. It crashes into small homes and apartments near the airport, killing its 3-man crew plus 13 people on the ground.
The fleet now includes 147 Constellations, including 29 L-1649As, 9 L-1049Hs, 9 L-1049As, 28 L-1049Gs, 12 L-749s, 27 L-749As, and 32 L-049s. One of the company’s new B-707-331s is leased to Northeast Airlines on December 17. It is replaced in service by another B-707-331 delivered on December 23.
Landing gear failures cause damage to two aircraft on two succeeding days in February 1960: a Martin 4-0-4 landing at Olathe, Kansas, on the 28th and an L-1049G at Chicago the next day. New York to London and Paris B-707-331 frequencies are doubled on March 1. On March 20, an air conditioning unit door falls off a B-707-131 and lands on a Queens, New York home; no one is hurt. During the first quarter, Lockheed Aircraft Services begins the conversion of the Star of Ebro and five other L-1649As, previously used on The Jetstream transatlantic services, into freighters. At the same time, four Starliners are sold to the new Argentine carrier Trans Atlantica Argentina, S. A.
On April 2, a leased L-1049A that has been christened Bounty begins weekly service from Honolulu to Tahiti for South Pacific Air Lines. Also during the second quarter, the last L-1049As are withdrawn, with one leased to The Flying Tiger Line. A B-707-331 crash-lands at New York on May 9; all 109 aboard are injured to some degree. Also on May 18, the first Convair CV-880 is accepted as a trainer. B-707-331 flights are inaugurated via the Great Circle Route from San Francisco to Rome on May 21 and are stretched to Athens eight days later.
At the beginning of June, two L-1049As are purchased by California Hawaiian Airlines and a third is leased to General Airways for a year.
After a four year investigation, largely conducted and pushed by TWA Capt. Larry de Celles, the CAB issues an amended accident report on June 15 concerning the loss of Flight 260 on February 19, 1955. In its first-ever reversal of a finding document, the CAB safety bureau changes the cause of the disaster from an intentional flight path deviation by Capt. Ivan Spong to “unknown.” At once, the tarnished reputation of a respected flyer is restored.
Charles Thomas resigns his presidency on July 28 over continuing operational interference by Howard Hughes. The carrier’s bankers now demand Hughes transfer his control to a voting trust or lose any chance of future loans. The newly reconfigured L-1649A freighters begin to replace L-1049Hs on the transcontinental and transatlantic all-cargo runs during August.
Airline magnate Hughes resists his fate throughout the remainder of the summer and fall, but with the company’s future up in the air, he finally agrees to the bankers’ demands in early December.
An L-1049G with 8 crew and 63 passengers makes a hard landing at Barcelona on November 8; although the aircraft must be written off, there are no fatalities.
Failure of the No. 3 engine causes an L-1049G with 36 aboard to crash-land at Atlanta on December 5; no major injuries are reported. Daily transcontinental excursion fares on Constellations are initiated on December 12 and on December 15 the carrier begins to test the projection of motion pictures on its jetliner flights.
The worst air disaster in U. S. history to date is recorded on December 16. In fog and sleet, United Airlines Flight 826, a DC-8-11, with 7 crew and 77 passengers approaches New York (ILD) on December 16 after a flight from Chicago (ORD). At the same time, TWA Flight 266, an
L-1049 with 5 crew and 39 passengers approaches New York (LGA) in IFR. The jetliner, proceeding beyond its clearing point, crosses the flight path of the Super Constellation and at short range the No. 4 jet engine slices open the propeller-liner’s fuselage top. The impact causes the TWA craft to break into three pieces and crash in flames on Miller Army Air Station, Staten Island, nearly missing a row of houses.
The DC-8 limps on for another 13.5 km before crashing into Sterling Point, Brooklyn, destroying a church, 10 apartment buildings, and several shops, causing a seven-alarm fire. All aboard both aircraft are killed, along with 5 people on the ground. Donald B. McComb Jr. portrays the “Collision Course: The Tragic End of Mainliner Will Rogers and the Star of Sicily’ in Airliners 8 (January-February 1995): 20-23.
North Atlantic bookings for the year recover and accelerate to 243,000.
The second CV-880 is received, following a lengthy Hughes-inspired delay, on January 1, 1961, and is followed by five more during the remainder of the month. Following a preinaugural flight from Los Angeles on January 10, this second Convair 880 begins flights over transcontinental routes on January 12, New York (ILD) to Los Angeles via Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Later in the month, the three L-1049H Super Constellations leased from California Eastern Aviation are returned. Six more L-1649A freighters are created by Lockheed Air Services.
CV-880 frequencies are undertaken, beginning on January 20, between New York and San Francisco via Dayton and Chicago. Four days later, a CV-880 service from Chicago to New York is completed in a record time of 1 hr. 11 min.
An illegal work stoppage by flight engineers at TWA and six other carriers causes the layoff of employees between February 17 and 24. During the month, the B-707-331 leased to Northeast Airlines in 1959 is returned.
On March 18, the carrier begins to offer refrigerated container services for perishables. Charles C. Tillinghast Jr., formerly the official in charge of Bendix’s international operations, is elected president on March 20.
A B-707-331 with 125 aboard lands short of the runway at St. Louis on March 26; only minor injuries result. Four days later, the landing gear of an L-049 freighter collapses when the plane alights at Las Vegas.
The last Martin 4-0-4 flight is completed on April 29, Baltimore to St. Louis via Washington, Columbus, Dayton, and Indianapolis. The L-049 Star ofSwitzerland is sold out of service in April; ironically, it will be acquired by the Pima Air Museum 20 years to the month later, restored, and exhibited in TWA livery—the only one of its class available for visitation.
In May, orders are placed for 26 additional Boeing 707-331B/Cs and for the lease of four Northwest Airlines B-720-51Bs (B-720Bs), which will fill the gap until they arrive. The airline files a $115-million damage suit against Howard Hughes and the Hughes Tool Company on June 30, alleging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antimonopoly Act.
Regularly scheduled in-flight motion pictures are introduced on the New York to San Francisco domestic route on July 19, followed up with their introduction in the first-class sections of international flights as of August 16. The modern age of in-flight entertainment is begun with a screening of the Lana Turner film By Love Possessed.
Meanwhile, the first B-720B is received on July 23 and B-720B service is inaugurated on August 18 from New York to Kansas City. The number of movies shown reaches 103 per week by August 31.
The fourth worst air disaster in U. S. history to date occurs on September 1. The L-049 Star of Paris with 5 crew and 73 passengers, which had inaugurated the company’s North Atlantic service 15 years earlier, suffers elevator failure and crashes just after its takeoff from Chicago for Las Vegas; there are no survivors.
Later in the month, two L-1049Hs are sold to Trans-International Airlines.
The last L-1649A transatlantic flight is completed on October 28, Cairo to New York. With the cessation of piston aircraft service on overseas routes on October 29, TWA becomes the first all-jet airline in international passenger service; however, disappointing traffic causes suspension of service to Bangkok. The engine of a B-720B explodes inflight near Albany, New York, on Nov. 5; the plane is able to make a safe landing. Agreement is reached on December 4 with the Air Line Navigators Association on issues involved in the use of the Doppler-Loran electronic navigation system and the last L-049 is retired at year’s end. Transatlantic enplanements fall to 208,000.
The last L-049 Constellation is retired on January 1, 1962. Also in January, the carrier is granted roundtrip authority between Los Angeles and San Francisco; it will not be advantaged. On March 25, the Nevada Airmotive Corporation purchases 25 L-049s for resale or lease to non-scheduled airlines. At the same time, two L-1649A freighters are leased to Alaska Airlines. The first B-707-131B is received on March 29.
Christened StarStream 707s, several new B-720-131Bs enter service on April 29 over routes from New York to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Indianapolis. Also in April, a suit is filed against Howard Hughes and the Hughes Tool Company in the Chancery Court in Delaware, seeking $35 million in damages based on a breach of fiduciary duty. At the same time, the two Super Constellations sold to California Hawaiian Airlines are attached for lack of payment.
The formal opening and dedication of the Trans World Flight Center is held at New York (JFK) on May 28. Designed by Eero Saarinen, the facility consists of a main terminal, with one (four planned) “Flight Wing.” A second L-1049A is sold to South Pacific Air Lines on June 7.
Between July 1 and September 4, the pilot and flight engineer unions disagree with management over third-seat jurisdiction aboard jetliners. Fully automated Doppler radar system of navigation on scheduled transatlantic service is introduced on the October 1 New York to London flight; it is the first time a commercial or military flight has ever operated across the ocean without a professional navigator aboard. During the month, the four B-720Bs are returned to Boeing, who passes them on to Northwest Airlines, for whom they were originally constructed.
Following several months of negotiations, TWA and Pan American World Airways (1) file a merger plan with the CAB on December 20. Also during the month and after less than six years of service, the L-1649A Star of Vermont is withdrawn.
North Atlantic enplanements this year jump to 276,000.
The company receives its first intercontinental B-707-331B on March 11, 1963. As the initial phase of a cargo expansion program, the carrier orders three B-707-331Cs on April 8, taking options on two more. Ten days later, a B-707-131B encounters clear-air turbulence northeast of Des Moines, Iowa, which results in serious injury for one stewardess.
On April 28, the world’s first international reservations system to function through high-speed computers is activated at New York.
On May 3, a default judgement is rendered against Hughes Tool Company for its failure to produce Howard Hughes for pretrial examination; Toolco counterclaims are dismissed with prejudice. In-flight movies are inaugurated in the economy-class sections of international flights on May 22.
Attempting to hold to a 1930 schedule that will generate little publicity, the company leases the Ford Tri-Motor 5-AT-74 from its Illinois owner and undertakes a transcontinental flight from Los Angeles to Newark on June 20. Flying via Albuquerque, Amarillo, Wichita, Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia, the veteran airliner completes its sky voyage in flying time of 27 hrs. 48 min. After a stop at New York (ILD), the Ford flies to Washington, D. C. (DCA) to participate in the government’s celebration of the anniversary of the Civil Aeronautics Act before returning to California.