Sat, Feb 10, 2001 EST
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New Company Plans $1 Billion Bid for TWA
Associated Press
DALLAS — A new company formed by aviation experts and investors said Wednesday it would bid nearly $1 billion to acquire Trans World Airlines, doubling the amount American Airlines said it would pay to take over the troubled carrier.

Jet Acquisitions Group Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., wants to eliminate TWA's current debt, retain most of its current employees, modernize its facilities and eventually expand the airline.

"Our group is adamant that TWA should be preserved as an independent and financially viable airline," group spokesman Stanford E. Lerch said in a statement. "Our bid is more than twice the size of the nearest offer for TWA that was previously made by American Airlines."

The company did not provide details about how its bid would be financed, but said it would provide a $1 billion guarantee "shortly."

American, based in Fort Worth, Texas, has said it would pay $500 million for most of TWA's assets, including up to 190 planes and the St. Louis hub. It also would pay $82 million for a 49 percent stake in DC Air, a minority-owned start-up of United Airlines and US Airways that would serve 44 markets out of Washington's Reagan National Airport.

The American proposal is awaiting approval of federal regulators.

A federal judge has extended the deadline for bids for TWA until Feb. 28.

TWA, based in St. Louis, has continued operations while bankruptcy proceedings occur.

TWA could not immediately be reached for comment.

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