Letters to the Editor

Published the week of March 29

I say bravo to Stuart Marcus and Tim Carl. We need more heroes out there. I thank them for caring about our youth, who are so easily forgotten.

Wendy Ginsberg

FLYING BLIND

Your feature article did an excellent job of presenting TWA's dilemma with decreasing revenues and increasing costs ("Gremlin on the Wing," RFT, March 1). But one TWA cost was understated -- all those nonproductive TWA costs unique to operating an airline hub at a very inefficient Lambert Field.

The inefficiencies unique to Lambert, mainly an inadequate all-weather hub-airfield capacity, cost TWA in excess of $100 million per year in padded schedule times, operational delays and misconnected-passenger costs.

Sadly, St. Louis city and the Airport Authority power brokers continue to push their dream of making Lambert a "world-class airport" and continue to waste huge amounts of money and time on the jobs program known as the W-1W plan. While much-needed and cost-effective immediate improvements to Lambert (worth at least $20 million a year in savings to TWA) are frozen in political paralysis, St. Louis remains fixated on a $2.6 billion land grab and knocking down 2,000 Bridgeton homes for a new W-1W runway.

Just what will the new runway do for Lambert and TWA? I must respectfully disagree with Mayor Clarence Harmon's effusive evaluation. The new W-1W runway will do little for Lambert's all-weather capacity. And the cost -- 70 percent of the airlines' share of W-1W's cost -- will surely put TWA out of business, something that even Carl Icahn and years of inept management couldn't do.

Proof? A real-time simulation at the FAA's Technical Center in New Jersey will prove W-1W's lack of operational merit and the project's failure to significantly improve the airfield's all-weather capacity. On the TWA side, the airline's latest grim 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows TWA's inability to pay for the new runway. The plan offers no savings to TWA and other Lambert users. W-1W won't make Lambert any better; it just makes it more expensive.

And when the W-1W plan puts TWA out of business, will another airline move in and make Lambert one of their hubs, providing the level of scheduled air service that St. Louis area citizens now enjoy? How about Southwest Airlines? I would expect to see a lot of orange B-737s at Mid America Airport in St. Clair County whether MetroLink runs out of there or not. It will be worth the drive.

For those politicians who, with all good political intentions, have supported the W-1W plan without comprehending its fatal technical and economic flaws, a real-time simulation can provide a high-tech exit strategy. Relying on the technical validity of a real-time simulation to abandon what was sold to them as an airport "improvement" plan, the politicians and power brokers can safely back away from the huge public-works jobs program known as the W-1W plan. Otherwise, TWA dies and St. Louis loses.

T.L. Brown
Captain, TWA

HERE'S THE SCOOP

I often peruse your Web site. Whether I am in search of a smile or in search of a breath of fresh air, even I have as yet to figure out. I don't find your material to be respectable, yet it entertains me. Out of all national weekly publications, yours is the least evil. I found myself inadvertently typing my way into your site tonight, only to be confronted with vulgarity and a lowbrow-genre humor which I haven't encountered in years. I was delighted. The article: "Deep Doo-Doo" (RFT, March 22). The author: Adam Pitluk. I have never enjoyed reading a trashy article as much as I did tonight. I actually laughed out loud (and I don't laugh). I would like to see more articles like this one. You folks have finally got it!

Rocky A. Loessin
Lodi, Ohio

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