CARL ICAHN'S TWA NIGHTMARE never ends. Now, with the St. Louis-based airline again flirting with bankruptcy, the financier stands to lose a bundle: There's a $190 million working capital loan he made the carrier. Plus, he's on the hook for hefty pension liabilities. Running low on cash, Trans World Airlines just suspended lease payments on its planes.

Icahn's continued financial connection to TWA is the aftermath of his ill-fated six-year tenure as its CEO and chief shareholder. As the price of getting out of the company in 1992, he extended the loan and agreed to pay a portion of the $1 billion underfunded pension liability. He owes $240 million over eight years if the pension plan is terminated. TWA, which, after nearly two years, emerged from Chapter 11 in late 1993, likely wouldn't survive another bankruptcy filing, say aviation consultants.

What are the odds of another filing? TWA says it will do that by yearend if creditors reject its plan to cut $800 million from its $1.8 billion debt load. TWA wants Icahn, who couldn't be reached for comment, to postpone repayment of the $190 million loan from January, 1995, to January, 1998.

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