Dulles International Airport will be the scene of fewer Trans World Airlines flights as the flag airline institutes a cutback in airline service and employes.
Although TWA always pulls back its operations after the peak summer period, the airline's officials cited the projected recession, rising fuel and operating costs and decreases in air travel in explaining a sharper than usual contraction.
TWA has already notified about 1,000 employes -- mostly seasonal -- that they will be furloughed. Of the total, 55 were furloughed in the Washington area, where TWA operates from all three airports. Most of them worked at Dulles and were hired this summer, a TWA spokesman said.
Effective this week, TWA has suspended eight of its 13 daily roundtrip flights out of Dulles, including four night coach flights it operated all summer to California, Denver and Phoenix. All that will remain at Dulles will be daily roundtrips to Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York with connections abroad, and Boston with connections abroad.
A Baltimore-Washington flight to the West Coast was also pulled, and a couple of night flights from Washington National are also to be ended. Replacing some of the lost flights in December will be new TWA services to Florida.
TWA had already announced the elimination this fall of some overseas routes -- to Ireland, Casablanca, Nice and the Zores -- that are not profitable enough.
While all the airlines are experiencing rapidly rising fuel costs, TWA has a larger number of the fuel-inefficient 707s than any other domestic airline and has, in fact, put nine of them on the ground in Kansas City in the hopes of selling them and buying new, more efficient planes.
In October, TWA'S management is expected to propose an equipment buying package to the board of directors, but even without that, the airline expects delivery of 13 new planes next year along with the return of two £1011s it had leased out.
A spokesman said TWA is now paying an average price of 70 cents a gallon for fuel on its domestic routes and an average of 85 cents a gallon for its international system, with prices going as high as $1.25 at some overseas points. The average domestic fuel price in January was 42 cents a gallon. This year's fuel bill of $700 million is expected to rise to more than $1 billion next year, he said.
Because of TWAs route structure, its passenger traffic is always way up in the summer and slides off the fourth and first quarters.