TWA gets OK tp sell 3 routes to American But DOT refuses to allow sale of BWI-London rights

April 26, 1991|By Maria Mallory

Trans World Airlines Inc. won Department of Transportation approval to sell three of six London routes to American Airlines Inc., but the department blocked the sale of the other routes, including service from Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

At a press conference yesterday in Washington, Transportation Secretary Samuel K. Skinner revealed the DOT's final ruling on the routes' sales, upholding the department's preliminary decision that proposed American be permitted to buy the TWA routes connecting Boston, Los Angeles and New York to London.

Mr. Skinner said the remaining routes -- Baltimore, St. Louis and Philadelphia -- cannot be included in the proposed $445 million sale to American.

In addition, the DOT decided against its preliminary proposal that suggested other carriers would be allowed to bid for two of the routes.

"Contrary to the tentative decision issued in March, we will not hold carrier selection proceedings for the Baltimore and Philadelphia routes," Mr. Skinner said. Several parties, including USAir, Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines had expressed an interest in acquiring the rights to the Baltimore route, which could be relocated to another city, with DOT approval.

The decision to permit American to buy half the routes ran counter to the request by investor Kirk Kerkorian to disallow the transaction so that his investment company, Tracinda Corp., could pursue the acquisition of TWA.

The DOT postponed its final decision to allow Mr. Kerkorian time to make his plan known to the department and for other carriers to file comments in response to the proposal. "However, [the DOT] did not find that Tracinda's proposal compelled disapproval of the entire transaction," Mr. Skinner said.

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