This page uses content from Wikipedia and is licensed under CC BY-SA.

Texas International Airlines

Texas International Airlines
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded1944 (as Aviation Enterprises)
Ceased operations1982
Parent companyTexas Air Corporation
HeadquartersHouston, Texas
Key peopleFrank Lorenzo

Texas International Airlines Inc. was a United States airline, known from 1944 until 1947 as Aviation Enterprises, until 1969 as Trans-Texas Airways (TTa), and as Texas International Airlines until 1982 when it merged with Continental Airlines. It was headquartered near William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas.[1]

Trans-Texas Airways (TTa) was a "local service" airline as designated by the federal Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) in Texas and surrounding states.[2] In August 1953 it scheduled flights to 36 airports from El Paso to Memphis; in May 1968 TTa flew to 48 U.S. airports plus Monterrey, Tampico and Veracruz in Mexico. The airline changed its name to Texas International and continued to grow.

When Texas International was merged into Continental Airlines in 1982 it had grown to reach Baltimore, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Omaha, Phoenix, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Tucson and Washington D.C. and had an all DC-9 jet fleet.[3][4] In 2010 Continental merged into United Airlines.


Revenue passenger traffic, in millions of passenger-miles (scheduled flights only, domestic plus international)
Year Pax-Miles
1951 17
1955 35
1960 70
1965 209
1970 659
1975 580[5]

In 1949 all Trans-Texas Airways flights were in Texas with Douglas DC-3s that the airline called "Starliners".[6] In November 1949 it served Alpine, Beaumont/Port Arthur, Beeville, Brownsville, Brownwood, Carrizo Springs/Crystal City, Coleman, Dallas (Love Field), Del Rio, Eagle Pass, El Paso, Fort Stockton, Fort Worth, Galveston, Harlingen, Houston (Hobby Airport), Laredo, Lufkin, Marfa, McAllen, Palestine, San Angelo, San Antonio, Uvalde, Van Horn and Victoria.[7]

The network expanded to Memphis in 1953, Lafayette in 1956, New Orleans and Jackson in 1959, Santa Fe and Albuquerque in 1963, into Mexico in 1967 and to Denver in 1969.

About April 1961 former-AA Convair 240s began carrying Trans-Texas passengers; the airline later converted them to Convair 600s, replacing the piston engines with Rolls-Royce Darts. First scheduled CV600 flights were in March 1966. Beechcraft C99s were later added to serve the smaller cities of Longview, Lufkin, Galveston, Tyler and Victoria (the last DC-3 flight was 1968).

In October 1966 Trans-Texas Airways introduced the Douglas DC-9-10 (the "Pamper-jet");[8] the DC-9 fleet expanded to nineteen DC-9-10s and seven McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s. By 1968 TTa was flying DC-9s to Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas; Harlingen, Texas; Hot Springs, Arkansas, Lake Charles, Louisiana; Roswell, New Mexico and Santa Fe, New Mexico.[9] DC-9's briefly flew to Clovis, New Mexico, Carlsbad, New Mexico, and Hobbs, New Mexico in 1977.[10]

Trans-Texas was derisively called "Tree Top Airlines," "Tinker Toy Airlines" and "Teeter-Totter Airlines"[11] by competitors and cynical customers. When it changed its name to Texas International Airlines in April 1969,[12] the company ran newspaper ads showing a Tinker Toy airplane flying along treetops. The copy read "No More Tinker Toys. No More Treetops. We are now Texas International Airlines." As Texas International, the airline standardized on the DC-9 and Convair 600. The last Convair 600 flights were in 1979 and Texas International became all-jet with DC-9-10s and DC-9-30s.

In 1970 Texas International served the following cities in Texas: Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Beaumont/Port Arthur, Big Spring, Brownwood, Bryan/College Station, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Ft. Worth, El Paso, Galveston, Harlingen, Houston, Laredo, Longview, Lubbock, Lufkin, McAllen, Midland/Odessa, San Angelo, San Antonio, Temple, Tyler, Victoria, Waco and Wichita Falls.[13]

Outside of Texas, in 1970 Texas International flew to Arkansas (El Dorado, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Texarkana); California (Los Angeles); Colorado, (Denver); Louisiana (Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Fort Polk, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport); Mississippi (Jackson); New Mexico (Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Clovis, Hobbs, Roswell and Santa Fe); Tennessee (Memphis); and Utah (Salt Lake City). In Mexico flights reached Monterrey, Tampico Mérida and Veracruz.[14] The airline had several "milk run" flights like flight 904, a DC-9-10 that left Los Angeles at 11:00am and stopped in Albuquerque, Roswell, Midland/Odessa, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston and Beaumont/Port Arthur before arriving Lafayette at 8:34pm.[15]

After suffering annual losses of up to $3 million, Texas International was acquired in 1972 by Jet Capital Corporation headed by 32-year-old Frank Lorenzo. The airline quickly realized a $6 million profit, largely due to wage cuts spearheaded by Lorenzo and sharp marketing efforts.

In the mid-1970s, in response to competition from Southwest Airlines, Texas International successfully petitioned the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to allow discounted fares. These fares become a staple of the airline and were advertised as "Peanuts Fares".[16] In spring 1978 the airline was flying nonstop between Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) and both Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Houston Hobby Airport (HOU), up to eighteen round trip DC-9 flights a day, all with "Peanut Fares".[17] The Texas International March 15, 1978 timetable advertised "Peanut Fares" in other markets as well.[18]

The first modern frequent flyer program was created at Texas International Airlines in 1979.[19] Lacking the computer resources of their larger competitors, Texas International was overtaken by American's introduction of AAdvantage in May, 1981.

On June 11, 1980 Lorenzo established a holding company, Texas Air Corporation, for Texas International.[20] Texas Air then acquired Continental Airlines in 1982 and merged Continental and Texas International on October 31, 1982 with TI assuming the former's name. The last Texas International aircraft were seen in 1983.

Today's successor to Trans-Texas Airways and Texas International is United Airlines, which merged with Continental in 2010. The airline has a large hub at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, a former hub for Texas International. Dallas/Fort Worth Airport was a hub for Texas International before its merger with Continental.[21]


A Texas International Airlines DC-9-15 at Los Angeles International Airport


*Following the name change to Texas International, the airline's early livery consisted of a dark purple cheatline above the windows leading up into three branches on the tail, which in 1973 was changed to a thick red cheatline across the windows on a white fuselage, along with a Columbia blue cheatline with a large white star on a blue tail.[citation needed]


Destination information includes Trans-Texas Airways (TTa) and Texas International scheduled passenger service from 1949 to 1982.


  • On February 6, 1969, Douglas DC-9-15MC N1304T collided in mid-air with a small, single engine Piper PA-28 aircraft over Harlingen, Texas; the Piper crashed, seriously injuring the pilot; the DC-9 landed safely with no casualties to the 59 on board.[22]
  • On September 27, 1973, Flight 655, a Convair 600, crashed in Arkansas while on a scheduled passenger/cargo flight from El Dorado, Arkansas to Texarkana, Arkansas; all 11 on board died. This accident was the only fatal accident involving the airline as well as the only fatal accident involving the Convair 600.
  • On November 16, 1976, Flight 987, a Douglas DC-9-14 (N9104), overran the runway and crashed on takeoff from Denver Stapleton International Airport (DEN) due to an unexplained malfunction of the stall warning system; all 86 on board survived, but the aircraft was written off.[23]
  • On March 17, 1980, Douglas DC-9-14 N9103 overran the runway while landing in rain at Baton Rouge Ryan Airport (BTR) due to pilot and ATC errors; all 50 on board survived, but the aircraft was written off.[24]

See also


  1. ^ World Airline Directory. Flight International. March 20, 1975. "505. "Head Office: PO Box 12788. 8437 Lockheed, Houston, Texas 77017, USA."
  2. ^, August 1968 Trans-Texas Airways system timetable
  3. ^; April 1, 1981 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
  4. ^, June 1, 1982 Continental/Texas International joint timetable
  5. ^ Shut down by strike until 4 April; sched RPMs were 947 million in 1976.
  6. ^, Nov. 1, 1949 Trans-Texas timetable
  7. ^, Nov. 1, 1949 Trans-Texas route map
  8. ^, Oct. 20, 1966 Trans-Texas timetable
  9. ^, August 1968 Trans-Texas timetable
  10. ^ Texas International June 1, 1977 timetable
  11. ^ Michelle C (March 23, 2014). "Trans Texas Airlines service (1949)". Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  12. ^ Nock Komos (August 1989). Air Progress: 76. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^, July 1, 1970 Texas International route map
  14. ^, July 1, 1970 Texas International route map
  15. ^ Feb. 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide, North American edition
  16. ^, July 15, 1981 Texas International route map
  17. ^ [], March 15, 1978 Texas International timetable
  18. ^ [], March 15, 1978 Texas International timetable
  19. ^ David M Rowell (August 13, 2010). "A History of US Airline Deregulation Part 4 : 1979 - 2010 : The Effects of Deregulation - Lower Fares, More Travel, Frequent Flier Programs". The Travel Insider. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
  20. ^ Thomas Petzinger (1995). "Hard Landings:the epic contest for power and profits that plunged the airlines into chaos". Times Business. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  21. ^, July 15, 1981 Texas International timetable map
  22. ^ Accident description for N1304T at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2014-12-11.
  23. ^ Accident description for N9104 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2014-12-11.
  24. ^ Accident description for N9103 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2014-12-11.

External links