Now that pilots have joined machinists and flight attendants in agreeing in principle to a recapitalization, Trans World Airlines is closer to emerging from bankruptcy. CEO Carl Icahn will give up his 90% stake in the airline and kick in $200 million to help finance the carrier's underfunded pension plan. In exchange for 15% wage cuts, employees will get 45% of the airline. Creditors will get 55%.
But pension-plan regulators, who insist Icahn's contribution "falls far short" of covering TWA's pension liability, could hold up a reorganization. And with or without a recap, many industry observers question TWA's viability as an independent airline.