WASHINGTON (AP) _ Trans World Airlines, the longest continuously flying name in American commercial aviation, will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week, as a precursor to a being bought out by American Airlines, The Washington Post reported on its Web site Sunday.

``We don't have anything to say about that,'' TWA spokeswomen Julia Bishop-Cross told The Associated Press late Sunday night. Officials at American, based in Fort Worth, Texas, also declined comment.

The Post, citing unidentified sources, said the deal includes American buying 49 percent of DC Air, the airline created by Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson.

The Post said the deal will be announced Wednesday. Terms were not available Sunday.

The sale described could end TWA's decade long struggle to turn a profit, a struggle that has included two corporate reorganizations.

Of the nation's top airlines, TWA was the only carrier to lose money in 1999 _ $353 million, the worst financial performance since the airline's second financial reorganization in 1995.

It was on pace to do worse in 2000, despite increasing revenues. Through the first three quarters, TWA lost $115.1 million, or $1.67 per share.