Texas International Airlines was born out of two companies; Aviation
Enterprises from 1944 until 1947 and from 1969 as Trans-Texas Airways.
The company was based near William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas.
The company provided regional passenger service in Texas and surrounding
states for most of its life.
Texas International was also
considered to be the unofficial flag carrier for the state of Texas,
today Continental Airlines holds that position During the 1960s the
airline operated a Beechcraft Model 99 and six Convair 600s.
the early 1960s, Texas International had service from one side of Texas
to the other, going as far west as El Paso and as far east as Texarkana,
Arkansas (the airport for the city also serves neighboring Texarkana,
Texas). Soon, flights into New Mexico were added.
In 1967 it
purchased a fleet of McDonnell Douglas DC-9 jets: nineteen of the Series
10 model and seven of the Series 30 aircraft, operating them to airports
as small as Baton Rouge,
and Little Rock, Arkansas. The airline was derisively called
"Tree Top Airlines" and "Tinker Toy Airlines" by its competitors. When
Trans-Texas Airways changed its name to Texas International Airlines,
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."
consulting to Texas International Airlines (TIA) for several months,
Lorenzo acquired control of it in 1972 through Jet Capital, which
acquired 26% of TIA's equity interest and 59% of the voting power for
$1.15 million. Lorenzo became its president in August 1972. The deal was
approved by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), which regulated the
airline industry in the United States
at the time.
took control of TIA in 1972, it was on the verge of financial collapse,
having lost money since 1966 including roughly $7 million annually for
the previous three years. Lorenzo and his management team "acutely
[understood] the risks in...redirecting a highly regulated company with
serious operating problems. " Two years later, Lorenzo's management was
able to steer the company to break even due to significant streamlining
later an analyst from Oppenheimer & Company, citing Lorenzo and
business-partner Carney’s strategies of substituting obsolete planes
with jets, eliminating unprofitable routes in exchange for destinations
with higher demand, and instituting half-price “peanut-fares” for the
first time in the aviation industry, noted TIA’s ability to compete and
win against much larger and financially stronger companies.
succeeding five years, Lorenzo's management changed the character of the
airline, having revamped the fleet, increased utilization, cut costs and
dropped a lot of losing routes and added flights on strong segments. The
average trip distance per passenger boarded jumped 25% from 1972 to
1976. In 1977, the company earned $8 million, and in 1978, TIA's
reported net income was up to $13.2 million and it was described as an
"aggressive, innovative carrier".
From 1972 to
1978, Lorenzo and his management team turned a $6.3 million loss on $63
million in revenue into a $13.2 million profit on $158 million in
the airline had scheduled service to such cities as:
El Paso, McAllen,
Lubbock, Wichita Falls,
San Angelo, Abilene,
and Beaumont-Port Arthur. Outside of Texas,
service included Arkansas (Hot
Springs), New Mexico (Roswell, Albuquerque, Hobbs and Santa Fe), Colorado (Denver), California (Los Angeles), Nevada (Las Vegas), and Mexico (Veracruz
mid-1970s, in response to intense competition from Southwest Airlines,
Texas International successfully petitioned the Civil Aeronautics Board
to begin offering discounted fares on its awarded routes. These fares
become a staple of the airline known as "Peanuts Fares". Following the
1978 Airline Deregulation Act the airline expanded its routes throughout
much of the central and southern
On June 11,
1980, Lorenzo established a holding company, Texas Air Corporation, for
Texas International. Texas Air bought Continental Airlines in 1982, then
merged Texas International with Continental. The last Texas
International aircraft were seen in 1983.
International is noteworthy as being the sole carrier to bring jet
service to the airports in Abilene,
Hot Springs, Wichita Falls, San Angelo, Roswell, Hobbs and
Texarkana. Even 30 years later, none of these
airports saw "full size" jet service again
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