TWA Buyout: 10 Years After

Brian Kelly

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) –  Ten years after it bought out TWA, a lot of St. Louisans still have bitter feelings about American Airlines.

But a former TWA executive says they shouldn’t.

Former TWA spokesman Mark Abels reminds everyone that St. Louis’  hometown airline was literally hours from shutting down for good when American stepped in.

And while some believe that then-American Chairman Don Carty wasn’t sincere when he said he wanted to keep St. Louis as a hub, Abels asserts that wasn’t the case.

“Don Carty put about a billion dollars of American Airlines assets on the line to acquire TWA and to keep the hub open in  2001,” Abels says.  “I don’t think he would have done that if he hadn’t been sincere.”

Abels tells KMOX News that bottom line is; St. Louis isn’t big enough — or rich enough — to serve as hub for airline travel.

Copyright KMOX Radio

  • Hank

    Didn’t Con Carty keep St. Louis as a hub? But the flight attendants got him fired because he was making too much money. Remember that? So the next guy eliminated the St. Louis hub. This should be a lesson to all of those who oppose high salaries for executives – you’re simply hurting yourself, your co-workers and the community. Not to mention all the connecting flights I now have to take. So yes, if I’m remembering this right, the flight attendents are actually to blame for St. Louis losing its hub…

    • Colby Labrador

      WOW , can you believe it? the flight attendants, second lowliest employees at the airline can make such a difference… YEEAAH RIIIGHT! Carty is a low life crook. he’s bankrupted at least half of the companies he’s managed. But go ahead, blame it on the workers…

    • Colby Labrador

      P.S., Carty was fired because he was asking for concessions from the flight attendant group (over 30% pay cuts) while hiding that he was giving himself and senior management a bankruptcy protected pension fund and raises.

  • Scott

    I’m a bit confused.. Size and money has nothing to do with St. Louis’ prominent location in the air system: central location. And after dealing with the major headaches at Dallas, Chicago, and Atlanta, I now drive or take the train.

  • Robert P Martin

    STL lost a huge advantage, when they lost the hub. Corps started to bail out as soon as the hub died. Stl should have carried TWA instead of putting the money into the expansion project and today all would have been better off.

  • RB

    Carty made his employees take a 33% pay and benefits cut. The day after the signing, he and the execs took a huge bonus and set themselves up with bankruptcy-proof retirement. There was one snag. The Fleet Service Clerks hadn’t yet signed the new deal. Fleet Service is to blame for Carty losing his job. And I think it was absolutely the correct thing to do. They gave back their bonuses, by the way. Not sure about the bankruptcy-proof retirement though.

  • ZMS

    Looking back at it while recalling my Royal Ambassador status on TWA, I truly believe STL shot themselves in the foot when they didnt make the new runway 25 years ago. Our airport had delays whenever it was cloudy and you cant run an airline like that when 60% of the time your flights thru the hub are delayed.

  • Ed Golterman

    St. Louis shot themselves in the foot when they didnt bring back Downtown.
    Airports dont create air travel.

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