Now-defunct TWA’s biggest problem — it was the only major airline losing money in the late 1990s — was that its primary hub was in St. Louis.
All the other major airlines were pulling in about 6% full fare travelers. TWA, based in a dying city without the high flying commerce of major centers like Chicago, San Francisco, and Dellas, just wasn’t pulling in premium revenue.
It always seemed strange that American saw acquiring the St. Louis hub as desireable when they acquired the bankrupt airline. They explained that they would relieve the pressure on Dallas by routing more travelers through St. Louis. That strategy turned out to be a dog, as American is scaling back flights out of St. Louis, and building up flights out of Dallas.
American says their focus on St. Louis will be the St. Louis origin/destination market — but that’s precisely the weakness that doomed TWA.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a FAQ on how this move impacts local travelers.