Ramon Lopez/NEW YORK

After a decade of losses, two trips to the bankruptcy court and the crash of Flight 800, Trans World Airlines is counting on the Middle East, the Caribbean and regional jets to help it pursue its recovery plan.

TWA, the USA's eighth-largest airline, in early January pulled out of the Madrid, Barcelona and Rome markets, but continues flying to London Gatwick, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Lisbon using Boeing 767s despite incurring operating losses on the services. Despite the setbacks, TWA is considering new European destinations which could be added "in the next year or so".

Last December, TWA and Kuwait Airways entered a codeshare partnership similar to its marketing pacts with Royal Jordanian Airlines and Royal Air Maroc. TWA operates profitably to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt.

Preliminary discussions are under way that could lead to additional codeshare pacts in the region. Gerald Gitner, TWA's chairman, says: "We continue to strengthen our route system in the Middle East by aligning with some of its most prominent airlines."

Talks are also under way for codeshares with European air carriers, as the airline considers whether to join an alliance or link to multiple airline groups.

Trans States Airlines, which operates turboprop services from St Louis and New York Kennedy, will on 22 February begin TWA Express services with three Embraer RJ-145s. The airline is also expanding in Puerto Rico through a deal with US regional Gulfstream International Airlines which will operate Caribbean turboprop flights from San Juan.

Meanwhile TWA says that it plans to begin phasing out its ageing 767-200 fleet from 2003, and will decide on a replacement within "the next 24 months". The acquisition of 757-300s is one option under consideration (Flight International, 11-17 January).

Source: Flight International