Donald Trump’s Tower Air Transported Soldier from Gulf War-Reported as Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Tower Air, an airline supposedly owned and operated by Donald Trump in the 1990s, gave free rides to stranded veterans returning from the Gulf War.
There’s no record of an airline owned by Donald Trump giving veterans free rides home from the Middle East.
We looked into whether Trump Shuttle, Donald Trump’s now-defunct airline, gave soldiers free flights. We also looked into whether Donald Trump was involved with Tower Air, an airline that contracted with the Department of Defense to transport soldiers in the early 90s.
In both cases, we found the answer to be “no.”
The claim emerged in a widely circulated open letter by a man named Ron Knouse that argues Donald Trump’s airline, Trump Shuttle, provided free flights to veterans returning from Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s. In the letter, Knouse claims that Trump’s airline gave stranded soldiers free transport home, but that media outlets had failed to report on his good deed.
First, it’s true that Donald Trump briefly operated an airline, Trump Shuttle. NYC Aviation, a website that caters to aviation enthusiasts, has a nice summary of Trump’s journey into the airline industry, here. Trump acquired Eastern Airlines Air Shuttle for $380 million and rebranded it as Trump Shuttle, with the first flight taking off in 1989, NYC Aviation reports:
Timing is everything in business, and unfortunately for Trump he entered the airline game at the wrong time. The US entered an economic recession in the late-‘80’s leading many corporations to cut back on business travel. In addition, tensions in the Middle East leading up to the first Gulf war caused oil prices to spike. This 1-2 punch was devastating for the airline industry and led to the demise of a number of airlines including Eastern and Pan Am. Given these circumstances, the Trump Shuttle lost money, and with Trump continuing to accumulate debt in his other ventures it was becoming increasingly difficult to pay back the loans taken to purchase the airline.
Trump defaulted on his loan for the airline in September 1990, the story goes, and a group of banks led by Citibank sold it to USAir Group.
So, Trump wasn’t in control of the airline in 1991 when soldiers were supposedly flown home from the Gulf War. Beside that, Trump Shuttle only provided service in the American Northeast, so there’s no way it would have traveled to Saudi Arabia.
That tells us there’s no way that Ron Knouse’s simply mistook “Trump Shuttle” as “Tower Air” in the letter.
Tower Air, on the other hand, did contract with the Department of Defense to provide charter flights around the time of the Gulf War, according to a New York Times report.
But we weren’t able to find anything linking Trump to Tower Air. Zev Melamid, Mordechi Gill, Morris Nachtomi and Sam Fondlierprovid established the airline in 1982, Airline History records show. Tower Air provided passenger service from New York to Brussels and Tel Aviv, a line previously operated by Metro International Airways, according to the World Airline Directory.
The airline officially declared bankruptcy in 2000. At the time, Morris Nachtomi was listed as the airline’s CEO in a New York Post report. We couldn’t find anything linking Donald Trump to the airline in the nearly 20 years that it was operational.
For all those reasons, we’re calling this one fiction.
Al Closson This is a Must Read! In 1991, at the end of Desert Storm, a 19 yr old US Army Cavalry Scout Private who had just spent 8 months at war sat out on a street at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. He sat there on his duffle bag with his Battalion around him for 4 days waiting for the buses to come and take him to the King Fahad Airport so he could go home. Unfortunately, the politicians of the day never planned for how to bring so many soldiers home after the war ended so there was a shortage of planes. Politicians are great at talking, but terrible at doing. Finally, the buses came, and took the young man to the airport. The planes waiting were from Tower Air. The owner of Tower Air had volunteered his planes and staff to bring soldiers home for the cost of fuel only. Happily, the young veteran got home just in time for Easter weekend in 1991, and spent that time emotionally healing with friends and family surrounding him. That Private was me. The Airline owner – Donald J Trump. That is why I will vote Trump. Loyalty for loyalty, respect for respect. Any questions?