TWA Brand Flying Off Into Sunset

NEW YORK – A brand name that has been part of aviation and marketing for more than 75 years is officially going the way of the dodo bird, a result of the deal this past April in which TWA Airlines became a subsidiary of rival American Airlines’ parent company, AMR Corp.

On Friday, American Airlines moved online ticket bookings from TWA.com into its AA.com Web site and closed TWA’s Aviators on- and offline frequent flyer program, directing passengers to American Advantage. Earlier, American had folded TWA.com’s weekly Dot Com Deals promotion and advised customers to switch to its own Net SAAver e-mail marketing effort.

On Sunday, airports nationwide replaced most of the TWA airport signs with American’s logo, and TWA passengers began using such American Airlines airport services as ticket counters, gates and Admirals Clubs. In addition, flight information display monitors began to show TWA flights listed as AA. Trans World Express, TWA’s regional service, already had been rebranded as “AmericanConnection.”

The TWA name will not totally disappear for some time, though, as it will take about six months for all TWA planes to be repainted. “That’s one thing that’s left to be done,” said Ken Gilbert, the managing director of American Airline’s integration team. For legal purposes, TWA will exist on paper for several years until its planes “are brought one by one into the American maintenance plan,” according to American Airlines. It was not revealed how much the branding effort would cost.

This is not the first time that the TWA brand has undergone changes. The airline began flying July 13, 1925 as Western Air Express, which later became Transcontinental and Western Air. In 1950, then-owner Howard Hughes kept the TWA acronym but renamed it Trans World Airlines.

— Barry Janoff