Trans World Airlines, Ozark Announce Merger – Airways | Airlines

Ozark Airlines Md 82 N950u@dca May 1985 Ahu 5552621051 E1677660106549.jpeg

DALLAS — Today, in 1986, Trans World Airlines (TWA) and Ozark Airlines (OZ) announced they would merge, giving TWA more cities across the U.S. and a route network in the Midwest.

TWA Chairman Carl Icahn announced the deal, which would see TW purchase OZ in a US$224 million deal. After the merger, the two carriers would hold approximately 70% of the passenger traffic at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).

“Two Losers”


A merger was initially discussed in May 1985 when TW offered to buy OZ for US$21 per share. This deal saw that figure drop by US$19 per share. Both carriers had been suffering losses, and speaking at the time of the merger, Icahn said that by combining “two losers, we hope to create one profitable carrier. My goal has always been to acquire Ozark and now I have achieved it.”

Ozark can trace its history back to September 1950, when it started operations with a fleet of three Douglas DC-3s. A merger with Central Airlines, which would have created one of the largest regional carriers in the US, fell through in November 1966.

But the airline continued to expand, joining the jet age in July 1966 when the first of its Douglas DC-9-10s arrived. It soon added the larger -30 and -40 series. Two Boeing 727-200s were also ordered but never delivered. Four McDonnell Douglas MD-82s joined the fleet in 1984.

A fleet of Fairchild F-27s subsequently replaced the Douglas DC-3. Photo: RuthASCC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Consigned to the History Books


In 1985, OZ carried 55 million passengers, serving 65 cities across 25 states. It had a fleet of 50 aircraft, comprising McDonnell Douglas DC-9-10/30/40s and MD-82s.

Shareholders agreed upon the merger of both airlines by late summer. It made TW the sixth-largest carrier in the US overnight. Despite some opposition regarding the monopoly the combined carriers would hold at STL, approval was granted by the US Department of Transport (DoT) on…

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