US Airways

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US Airways
US Airways Logo.svg
IATA
US
ICAO
AWE
Callsign
CACTUS
Founded 1937 (as All American Aviation)
Hubs
Frequent-flyer program Dividend Miles
Airport lounge Admirals Club
Alliance Oneworld (affiliate)[2]
Subsidiaries
Fleet size 338 (Mainline), 278 (Express)[3]
Destinations 193[3]
Company slogan Fly with US
Parent company American Airlines Group
Headquarters Tempe, Arizona, USA[4]
Key people Robert Isom (CEO)[5]
Website usairways.com

US Airways is a major U.S. airline owned by the American Airlines Group. It operates an extensive international and domestic network, with 193 destinations in 24 countries in North America, South America, Europe, and the Middle East.[3]

The airline is an affiliate member of Oneworld and utilizes a fleet of 343 mainline jet aircraft, as well as 278 regional jet and turbo-prop aircraft operated by contract and subsidiary airlines under the name US Airways Express. The carrier operates the US Airways Shuttle, a US Airways brand which provides hourly service between Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C. As of October 2013, US Airways employed 32,312 people worldwide and operated 3,028 daily flights (1,241 US Airways Mainline, 1,790 US Airways Express).[3]

In 1979, after passage of the Airline Deregulation Act, Allegheny Airlines changed its name to USAir and began seeking to expand its operations. A decade later, it had acquired Piedmont Airlines and Pacific Southwest Airlines and was one of the U.S.'s seven remaining transcontinental legacy carriers. In 2005, America West Airlines carried out a reverse merger, acquiring the assets and branding of the larger US Airways while putting the America West leadership team largely in charge of the merged airline.

In February 2013, American Airlines and US Airways announced plans to merge, creating the largest airline in the world.[6] The holding companies of American and US Airways merged effective December 9, 2013.[7] In preparation for their eventual integration, the airlines began offering reciprocal frequent flyer benefits on January 7, 2014,[8] and US Airways left Star Alliance to join Oneworld on March 31, 2014.[9] The combined airline will carry the American Airlines name and branding, and will maintain the existing US Airways hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Phoenix for a period of at least five years under the terms of a settlement with the Department of Justice and several state attorneys-general.[10][11] US Airways management will run the combined airline from the American headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.[12][13]

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Allegheny Airlines BAC One-Eleven

US Airways traces its history to All American Aviation Inc, a company founded by du Pont family brothers Richard C. du Pont, Alexis Felix du Pont, Jr. and CEO Steven Gardner. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, the airline served the Ohio River valley in 1939. In 1949 the company was renamed All American Airways as it switched from airmail to passenger service; it became Allegheny Airlines in 1953.[14]

Allegheny's first jet was the Douglas DC-9 in 1966; it absorbed Lake Central Airlines in 1968 and Mohawk Airlines in 1972 to become one of the largest carriers in the northeastern United States. In 1973 it was the ninth largest airline in the free world by passengers carried (and 24th largest by passenger-miles).[15] With expansion came growing pains: in the 1970s Allegheny had the nickname "Agony Air" due to customer dissatisfaction.[16]

Allegheny's agreement with Henson Airlines, the forerunner to today's US Airways Express carrier Piedmont Airlines, to operate "Allegheny Commuter" flights was the industry's first code-share agreement,[17] a type of service now offered throughout the industry.

1970s: Deregulation and rebranding[edit]

Douglas DC-9 in USAir livery

Allegheny changed its name to USAir in 1979[18] following the passage of the Airline Deregulation Act the previous year, which enabled the airline to expand its route network into the southeastern United States.

USAir was a launch customer for the Boeing 737-300, as the airline needed an aircraft with greater capacity to serve its rapidly growing Florida markets. USAir was the world's largest operator of DC-9 aircraft at the time and approached McDonnell Douglas to negotiate a new airplane design. However, in the late 1970s, the McDonnell Douglas' proposed successor to the DC-9-50 did not suit USAir's requirements. After the negotiations with McDonnell Douglas broke down, Boeing came forward with a proposed variant of the 737. USAir selected the new 737 aircraft, and the company worked closely with Boeing during its development, taking delivery of the first plane on November 28, 1984.

1980s: Mergers and expansion[edit]

Revenue Passenger-Kilometers, in millions
Year Traffic
1980 8,977
1985 15,659
1990 55,903
1995 61,271
2000 75,728
2005 64,600
Source: Air Transport World

USAir expanded in the late 1980s, purchasing San Diego–based Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) in 1986 and Winston-Salem, North Carolina–based Piedmont Airlines in 1987.[19] The PSA and Piedmont acquisitions were completed in 1988 and 1989, respectively.[20]

The PSA acquisition gave USAir hub presence on the West Coast, while the Piedmont acquisition gave USAir a strong East Coast presence and hubs in Baltimore and Charlotte, which remained key hubs for USAir in later years. The Piedmont acquisition in 1989 was the largest airline merger until then, and USAir became one of the world's largest airlines, operating more than 5,000 flights daily.[21] Following the acquisitions, USAir closed down PSA's hubs in California and Piedmont's hubs in Dayton and Syracuse.

Brown metal and glass building, curved at the center and angled at the sides/
Crystal Park Four, former headquarters in Crystal City, Arlington County.

By 1990 the airline had consolidated its headquarters, moving from Washington National Airport to a new building at Crystal City in Arlington County, Virginia, near the airport. Maintenance and operations headquarters remained at Pittsburgh International Airport.[22]

1990s: Rebranding, fleet modernization, and failed sell-off[edit]

Boeing 737-300 in the 1997 US Airways livery

In the early 1990s, USAir expanded its service to Europe with flights to London, Paris and Frankfurt from its four primary hubs. The company formed partnerships, marketing the Trump Shuttle as the "USAir Shuttle" and accepting a large investment from British Airways that started one of the first transatlantic alliances, resulting in several 767 aircraft being painted in the British Airways livery, but operated by USAir.[23][24]

In 1996, the alliance between USAir and British Airways ended in a court battle when British Airways announced its intentions to partner with American Airlines.[25]

In early 1997, the airline changed its name to US Airways and introduced a new corporate identity. A stylized version of the Flag of the United States was adopted as a new logo. The new branding was applied to terminals and ticket jackets. The airline painted aircraft in deep blue and medium gray with red and white accent lines.[26] It also invested in a new terminal at its hub in Pittsburgh.[21]

Boeing 737-200 in MetroJet livery

That same year, the airline also introduced a single-class subsidiary service known as MetroJet, which competed with low-cost carriers expanding into the East, in particular Southwest Airlines. MetroJet operated Boeing 737-200 aircraft, the oldest aircraft in the fleet, and this allowed the aircraft to achieve the maximum utilization possible before being retired.[27]

On November 6, 1996, immediately prior to the re-branding to US Airways, the airline placed an order for up to 400 Airbus A320-series narrow body aircraft, with 120 firm orders at the time of the order signing. At the time, the order was regarded as the largest bulk aircraft request in history. In 1998, the airline followed with an order for up to 30 Airbus A330-series wide-body aircraft, with an initial firm order for seven of the Airbus A330-300 airliners. These orders enabled US Airways to replace its older aircraft with newer, more efficient aircraft, and it helped with the re-branding and repositioning efforts of US Airways.[28]

In 1997, US Airways bought the remains of Trump Shuttle. US Airways also steadily expanded its flights to Europe through the end of the decade. Although the airline returned to profitability in the mid-1990s, its route network's concentration in the U.S. Northeast and high operating costs prompted calls for the company to merge with another airline.[29]

2000s[edit]

2000–2004: September 11 and financial woes[edit]

Beginning in 2000, US Airways started retiring aircraft in an attempt to simplify its fleet and reduce costs, replacing many of its older planes with the new Airbus A320-family aircraft.

March 30,2000 US Airways received its first A330-300.

On May 24, 2000 US Airways announced plans to be acquired for $4.3 billion by UAL Corp., the parent company of United Airlines, the world's largest commercial carrier at the time. The complex deal drew immediate objections from labor unions, consumer advocates and antitrust regulators.[30] Negotiations stalled; with both airlines losing money, and the deal all but certain to be blocked by the federal government, UAL withdrew its purchase offer on July 27, 2001, paying US Airways a $50 million penalty for withdrawing from the deal.[31]

As the largest carrier at Washington National Airport, US Airways was disproportionately affected by that airport's extended closure following the September 11 terrorist attacks. The resulting financial disaster precipitated the closure of the airline's MetroJet network, which led to the de-hubbing of the subsidiary's primary operating base at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and the furloughing of thousands of employees. The airline entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy on August 11, 2002, but received a government-guaranteed loan through the Air Transportation Stabilization Board and was able to exit bankruptcy in 2003[32] after a relatively short period. The airline made major cost reductions during its bankruptcy, but it still encountered higher-than-average per-seat-mile costs.

In 2003, US Airways began exploring the availability of financing and merger partners, and after no financing was available, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy again in 2004 for the second time in two years.[33] The airline merged in 2005 with America West Airlines. Under terms of the merger agreement, the America West board of directors created two new entities. First, a new "US Airways Group" was created to receive the bankrupt US Airways' assets and form the new corporation. Second, "America West Holdings" was merged into "Barbell Acquisition Corporation", a subsidiary of the new "US Airways Group", on September 27, 2005; through this transaction, "America West Holdings" became a wholly owned subsidiary of the new "US Airways Group".[34] The "America West Holdings" stockholders were required to authorize these changes. Upon completion, 37% of the new "US Airways Group" would be owned by "America West Holdings" stockholders, 11% by the old "US Airways Group" debtholders, and 52% by new equity investors.[35] The result was the 5th largest US based airline in terms of revenue.[36] After the merger,[37] the new airline retained the US Airways name, since studies indicated that "US Airways" had better brand recognition worldwide than did "America West".

In early 2003, US Airways management liquidated the pensions of its 6,000 pilots by releasing their pensions into the federal pension program Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. The company was one of the first major airlines to eliminate pilots' pensions in order to cut costs.[citation needed]

Following a trial run of selling in-flight food in 2003, US Airways discontinued free meal service on domestic flights later that year.[citation needed]

2003–2004: Pittsburgh hub conflict[edit]

US Airways operations in Pittsburgh following hub elimination.

In late 2003-early 2004, US Airways lobbied for lower operating fees at Pittsburgh International Airport, citing its economies of scale as the primary carrier and largest tenant at the airport. US Airways attempted to leverage its adverse cash position and "red ink" in the years following 9/11 to negotiate better financial terms with the airport. The Allegheny County Airport Authority rejected US Airways' demands for reduced landing fees and lower lease payments, in part due to antitrust and FAA regulations that required the airport operator to extend the same financial terms to all carriers if it accepted US Airways' demands. US Airways threatened to move traffic to rival hubs in Philadelphia and Charlotte, and the airline made good on its threat in November 2004, reducing its flights at Pittsburgh International Airport from primary-hub to secondary-hub status. This action also resulted in the closing of the commuter terminal, also known as concourse E. The airline, led by former ExpressJet Airlines CEO David N. Siegel, continued to demote Pittsburgh International Airport in subsequent years until it became only a focus city airport for the company.[38] As of 2010, Pittsburgh is no longer listed as a US Airways focus city.[39] US Airways now operates an average of only 39 departures a day exclusively to domestic destinations, compared to 2001 when it was a hub with 500+ flights a day with service across the United States and to Europe.[40]

Western Pennsylvania leaders, and most notably the designer of the 1992 modernization of Pittsburgh International, Tasso Katselas, pointed out that the reason fees and payments were higher than average is expressly because U.S. Airways requested the most modern and advanced airport in the world in return for basing its hub there. Katselas has also been vocal that the issue of negotiable fees and payments are irrelevant when compared to the three biggest costs of any airline: fuel, time and labor, all of which his redesign of PIT in 1987–1992 helped to reduce. In fact, those changes created the most efficient, least costly and least financially wasteful airfield in the world. Although conceding that those updates cost more, he argued they were more than offset by Pittsburgh's vast built-in nonnegotiable fuel and time, and to a lesser degree, labor savings.[41]

2004–2005[edit]

In August 2004, US Airways attempted to build a Latin American gateway at Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood, announcing service to 10 cities in Latin America and the Caribbean.[42] The attempt was largely unsuccessful and short-lived, in part due to Fort Lauderdale's proximity to American Airlines’ hub at Miami International Airport and its extensive Latin American network. US Airways also began a process of de-emphasizing its hub-and-spoke system to capitalize on direct flights between major eastern airports such as Washington National Airport and New York-LaGuardia.

The airline became the 15th member of the Star Alliance on May 4, 2004.[43]

Fuel costs and deadlocked negotiations with organized labor, chiefly the Air Line Pilots Association, traditionally the first group to come to a concessionary agreement, forced US Airways into a second round of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection proceedings on September 12, 2004. Widespread employee discontent and a high volume of employee sick calls were blamed by the airline for a staff shortage around the 2004 Christmas holiday, a public relations disaster which led to speculation that the airline could be liquidated; the USDOT found that the problems were caused primarily by poor airline management.[44]

US Airways/America West merger[edit]

US Airways Boeing 737-300 at Phoenix Sky Harbor Concourse A-Terminal 4. (2008)

Even before the second bankruptcy filing of 2004, one of the alternatives US Airways Group explored was a possible merger with America West, as the two airlines had complementary networks and similar labor costs. The parties held preliminary discussions and conducted due diligence from February through July 2004. Ultimately, these talks ended due to issues related to labor, pension, and benefit costs.[citation needed]

By December 2004, US Airways had cut labor costs significantly. Its investment adviser, the Seabury Group, suggested putting the airline up for sale. The following month, US Airways Group and America West Holdings resumed their discussions. On May 19, 2005, both airlines officially announced the merger deal, structured as a reverse takeover. Financing for the deal was supplied by outside investors including Airbus, an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, the European aerospace consortium. Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation, operator of numerous US Airways Express flights, and ACE Aviation Holdings, the parent company of Air Canada, also bought shares in the combined airline. The merged airline retained the US Airways name to emphasize its national scope, as well as to capitalize on US Airways' worldwide recognition, Dividend Miles frequent flyer program, and Star Alliance membership.[45] On September 13, 2005, America West shareholders voted to approve the merger agreement, and three days later the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia approved US Airways' emergence from bankruptcy, allowing the merger to close on September 27.[citation needed]

Since the merger, US Airways has been headquartered at the former America West corporate offices in Tempe, Arizona, and America West executives and board members are largely in control of the merged company. The company's aircraft merged FAA operating certificate includes America West's airline call sign and identifier "CACTUS" and "AWE".

Post-2005 merger[edit]

During 2006, the airline began consolidating its operations under the US Airways brand. Operations were not fully integrated until October 2008, when government approval was obtained to allow the airlines to operate under a single operating certificate.[citation needed]

In May 2006, the US Airways and America West web sites were merged. The new US Airways web site unites the two brands using graphics and styles reflective of the airline's new livery and services.[citation needed]

In July 2006, US Airways and America West ordered 20 new Airbus A350 aircraft.[46]

In December 2006, US Airways became the first American "legacy" carrier to add the Embraer 190 to its mainline fleet."US Airways takes Delivery of E190 Aircraft". December 31, 2006. Retrieved September 27, 2014.  It remains one of only two American carriers to operate the E190 in scheduled service, jetBlue being the other.

At end of 2006, US Airways made a bid for competitor Delta Air Lines, which opposed, treating it as a hostile takeover by US Airways. The final bid was valued at $10 billion but was withdrawn on January 31, 2007, since US Airways failed to secure backing from Delta's creditors. The airline has stated that it will no longer pursue a possible takeover of Delta.[47]

Aircraft were equipped with Verizon Airfone in every row of seats. Since Verizon ended this service, the airline has deactivated the service and as of 2007, has removed the phones or has covered them in all aircraft.

Overnight on March 4, 2007, the US Airways and America West computer reservation systems merged. US Airways, which previously used the Sabre airline computer system, switched to the new QIK system, an overlay for the SHARES system, that had been used by America West. A few of the features from the Sabre system were incorporated into the new joint system, with the most prominent being the continued utilization of the Sabre ramp partition "DECS" for all computer functions related to weight and balance, aircraft loading and technical flight tracking within the company.

America West Airlines and the US Airways merged FAA certificates on September 25, 2007. Former America West employees (including pilots, fleet service personnel, flight attendants) remain on their original America West union contracts and did not fully combine work forces with their pre-merger US Airways counterparts. Until October 2008, former America West aircraft flew with their respective crews and used the call sign "CACTUS", while the pre-merger US Airways crews primarily flew with their respective aircraft and used the call sign "US AIR". In October 2008, the company began operating under a single operating certificate (that of the former US Airways.) This required operation under a single call sign and identifier, and that of America West ("CACTUS" and "AWE") were chosen as a sign of the company lineage. In addition, flights operated using former America West aircraft and crews are numbered 1–699, whereas flights operated by pre-merger US Airways aircraft and crews are numbered 700–1999. (Flights numbered 2000–2199 are shuttle services, and those 2200 and higher are operated by express subsidiaries.)[citation needed] Aircraft operated by pre-merger US Airways crews or former America West crews flew under two different United States Department of Transportation operating certificates until September 25, 2007. However, until pilot and flight attendant union groups from both sides successfully negotiate a single contract, each group of crewmembers will fly only on its pre-merger airlines' aircraft and the flights will be marked accordingly.[citation needed]

Now that the computer systems are merged, former America West-operated flights are marketed as though America West was a wholly owned carrier. This marketing is common practice for airlines that have code-share agreements with other airlines operating aircraft for feeder or regional routes, and although the practice is uncommon for major airlines, it greatly simplifies the process for passengers connecting between historically US Airways-operated flights and former America West-operated flights.[citation needed]

In summer 2007, US Airways began upgrading its in-flight services, from food and entertainment to the training of flight attendants. The airline was planning to test-market a new seat back entertainment system in early 2008, however the 2008 fuel crisis has ended those plans. As a further result of the skyrocketing fuel costs, the airline is now rolling back the planned summer 2007 service upgrades as well as ending its existing in-flight entertainment on all domestic routes.[48]

2007[edit]

A Consumer Reports survey of 23,000 readers in June 2007 ranked US Airways as the worst airline for customer satisfaction. The survey was conducted before the airline's March 2007 service disruptions. A follow-up survey polling a smaller sample size, conducted in April, found that US Airways remained in last place, with its score dropping an additional 10 points.[49] Also in 2007, the Today/Zagat Airline Survey rated US Airways as the worst airline overall in the United States, ranking it 10/30 for comfort, 5/30 for food, 10/30 for service, and 15/30 for its online reservations system.[50]

On August 1, 2008, US Airways ceased providing its passengers with complimentary beverages. Passengers were required to purchase bottled water or soda for $2 US, or $1 US for coffee and tea. However, the Shuttle flights between LGA, DCA, and BOS continued to offer free beverages.[51] US Airways resumed serving complimentary drinks in March 2009.

US Airways ranked last out of 20 domestic airline carriers for systemwide on-time performance in March, April and May 2007, according to DOT figures.[52][53][54] According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics June 2008 report (using data from May 2008), US Airways ranked 7th for percentage of on-time arrivals.

US Airways is the leader in service complaints with 4.4 complaints per 100,000 customers.[55] US Airways rate of customer complaints is 7.5 times the rate of JetBlue (0.59 complaints per 100,000 customers) and 11 times the rate of Southwest Airlines (0.4 complaints per 100,000 customers).[55] US Airways has a very poor record of addressing customer complaints, answering only 50% of the telephone calls to its customer service department.[56]

As of September 2007, US Airways continued to downgrade Pittsburgh International Airport's status from 500 flights a day (with 12,000 employees) in 2001 to just 68 flights a day (with only 1,800 employees). CEO Parker stated his frustration at the economics of Pittsburgh, and referred to the possibility of service further decreasing. This represents a further deterioration of a strained relationship with Allegheny County, with which the airline shares significant historical ties.[57] US Airways Group Inc. said October 3, 2007 it would cut mainline flights at Pittsburgh International Airport to 22 a day from 31 and reduce regional flights to 46 a day from 77, beginning January 6, 2008, essentially reducing the airport to a destination spoke in its network.[58] Pittsburgh is no longer a focus city for the airline as of its most recent annual report and January 2008 flight schedule reductions.

2008[edit]

US Airways East pilots took steps to relinquish their ALPA membership and form their own in-house union.[59] "East" pilots were dissatisfied with the results of binding arbitration when the arbitrator's ruling placed all active former America West pilots, including their most junior pilot, who had been hired only three months previous to the merger, ahead of furloughed US Airways pilots with up to seventeen years of service. The former US Airways pilots petitioned the National Mediation Board to conduct a vote to determine whether to replace their union. East pilots (3,200) outnumbered west pilots (1,800) and the proposed union's president stated that the union has a sufficient number of requests to call a vote according to National Mediation Board regulations.[60] The new union would be called the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA). On April 17, 2008, USAPA was voted in as the sole bargaining agent for the pilots of US Airways, East and West.

It took more than a year to correct problems stemming from the merger and by 2008, US Airways was one of the best performers among the legacy carriers. The carrier had the best departure and arrival performances among the other major US carriers. Because of strong On-Time departure and On-Time arrival performances it was the number one major carrier. Northwest was the only other carrier that had better performances but became a part of Delta during that year.

On April 25, 2008, it was reported that US Airways was in talks to merge its operations with either American Airlines or United Airlines, partially as a response to the recent Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines merger.[61] Then, on April 28, 2008, reports stated that US Airways would announce its intent to merge with United within two weeks.[62] At the end of May 2008, the airline announced that merger talks were formally ended.[63]

On May 20, 2008, according to the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index by the University of Michigan, US Airways ranked last in customer satisfaction among the major airlines.[64] However, it was making steady ground to bridge its gap with other airlines.

2009[edit]

Coast Guard video (8:07 long) of the crash and rescue; splashdown is at 3:31:02 pm

On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549, under the command of Captain Chesley Sullenberger, flying from New York City's LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, ditched into the Hudson River shortly after takeoff. It is believed that "multiple bird hits" from a flock of Canada geese caused both engines to lose power.[65] All 150 passengers and 5 crew members (2 pilots and 3 flight attendants) survived with only minor injuries. New York's Governor Paterson called it "the miracle on the Hudson."[66]

US Airways received its first Airbus A330-200 in June 2009.

In mid-2009 it was reported that US Airways, along with American Airlines and United Airlines was placed under credit watch. Experts say several factors, including capital and revenue, played a role in the airline's addition to the list.[67][68] On October 2, US Airways reported that it had a buyer for 10 of its 25 Embraer 190 Aircraft. The remaining 15 aircraft are scheduled to be redeployed to Boston where they will operate Boston to Philadelphia and the Boston to New York LaGuardia leg of the US Airways Shuttle service. On December 8, US Airways started the flight to Rio de Janeiro-Galeão airport operated by a Boeing 767-200. This is the first route to South America.

2010s[edit]

2010[edit]

US Airways cut many routes to close its focus cities at Las Vegas, Boston, and New York LaGuardia. The airline was given tentative government approval to trade many of its LaGuardia takeoff and landing slots to Delta Air Lines in exchange for Delta's slots at Washington National. This exchange would strengthen each airline's presence at both airports. The DOT gave approval pending the carriers selling a small percentage of their routes to other carriers. US Airways and Delta disagreed with the decision and said they planned to sue the US DOT.[69]

On April 7, 2010, the New York Times reported that US Airways was "deep in merger discussions" with United Airlines. The report stated that a deal would not be reached for several weeks, but indicated that a deal was close.[70] Several weeks later, however, on April 22, 2010, the airline ended discussions with United regarding the merger.[71] Shortly thereafter, United announced that it was merging with Continental Airlines instead.[72]

2011[edit]

In April 2011, US Airways earned the top spot in the 2011 Airline Quality Rating (AQR) report among "Big-Five" hub-and-spoke carriers.[73] US Airways President Scott Kirby said that US Airways was the last viable airline in the U.S. to merge, and that any potential merger would be with one of three U.S. carriers: United Airlines, American Airlines or Delta Air Lines.[74] Kirby also commented that US Airways' membership in the Star Alliance would make a merger with United Airlines easier, but added that "it's not meaningful enough to really be a factor."[75]

Among the 10 largest domestic airlines, consumers scored US Airways last for overall customer satisfaction in a May 2011 Consumer Reports survey.[76][77][78]

May 2011 Business Insider reported that ACSI ranked US Airways sixth in a list of “The 19 Most Hated Companies in America.”[79]

July 2011 the pilots' union, USAPA, purchased a full page advertisement in the USA Today newspaper, questioning US Airways management's commitment to safety. US Airways transmitted a communication to all of its employees, on the same day as the ad, denying the accusations. September 2011, US Airways requested and was granted an injunction against the pilots, claiming the pilots union, USAPA was using their commitment to safety as a negotiating tactic.

2012[edit]

In January 2012, US Airways expressed interest in taking over bankrupt carrier American Airlines.[80] Tom Horton, CEO of American parent AMR Corporation, said in March that American was open to a merger.[81] A Bloomberg News report dated March 23, 2012, stated that US Airways has been in talks with AMR's creditors about a takeover bid.[82] On December 7, 2012, US Airways announced a merger proposal with American Airlines. The merger will still require approval from a bankruptcy judge but if the merger is successful, the combined airline will keep the American Airlines name and will be based in American's hometown of Fort Worth.[83]

2013[edit]

On February 14, 2013, US Airways Group and AMR Corporation announced that the two companies would merge to form the largest airline in the world. In the deal, shareholders of AMR will own 72% of the new company and US Airways Group shareholders will own the remaining 28%. The combined airline will carry the American Airlines name and branding, while US Airways' management team, including CEO Doug Parker, will retain most operational management positions. The headquarters for the new airline will also be consolidated at American's current headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.[12][13]

On August 13, 2013, the United States Department of Justice along with attorneys general from six states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit seeking to block the merger, arguing that it would mean less competition and higher prices. Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, states where either American or US Airways maintains a large presence, are among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, as is Tennessee.[84]

On November 12, 2013 a deal was reached between the two companies and the Department of Justice.[85] That allowed the companies to complete merger on December 9, 2013.[86]

Company affairs and identity[edit]

Headquarters[edit]

US Airways headquarters in Tempe, Arizona, formerly the America West Airlines headquarters

US Airways has its headquarters in Tempe, Arizona in Greater Phoenix. The nine story,[87] 225,000 square feet (20,900 m2) building was originally occupied by America West Airlines.[88] Jahna Berry of the Arizona Business Gazette said in 2005 that the building "is one of the dominant buildings in downtown Tempe."[89] It is located in proximity to the southwest intersection of Rio Salado Parkway and Mill Avenue.[90] The City of Tempe gave America West $11 million in incentives and tax breaks so it would occupy what is now the US Airways headquarters, which cost $37 million to construct.[91]

Construction of the building began in January 1998, although the official groundbreaking ceremony was held on February 19 of that year.[92] As of 2006 over 700 employees work at the building.[87] On May 31, 2013, W.P. Carey Inc. gave 75% interest in the US Airways headquarters to Parkway Properties Inc. for $41.8 million, or $185 per square foot.[90] As of December 2013, 780 employees worked in the building. After the merger between American Airlines and US Airways condluded, Hayley Ringle of the Phoenix Business Journal stated in December 2013 that the facility became "just a large office of American Airlines Group".[93] That month, John McDonald, the American Airlines vice president of corporate communications and public affairs stated that the US Airways headquarters will continue to be used for at least five years and for the time being most of the employees at the US Airways headquarters will remain.[93]

Previously US Airways had its headquarters in Crystal Park Four, a Class A mixed-use development in Crystal City, in Arlington County, Virginia in Greater Washington, DC.[94][95] Park Four is between Reagan National Airport, The Pentagon, and the District of Columbia.[95] After the merger with America West Airlines, the company decided to close its Virginia headquarters and moved the employees into the former America West building in three to six months after the merger closed.[96] Russell Grantham at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said that the decision to move the headquarters to Tempe was not that difficult because the Crystal City facility "consisted of like two or three floors of people."[97]

Flight Operations Center[edit]

Pittsburgh International Airport won a three way competition between Phoenix and Charlotte in 2007 for the right to continue as US Airways' Global Flight Operations center. Opening in November 2008, US Airways invested more than $25 million ($27.4 million today) into a 72,000-square-foot (6,700 m2) facility. It replaced a smaller 11-year old (pre-merger) operations center closer to downtown Pittsburgh.[98][99] The state-of-the-art Ops Center opened ahead of schedule and is home to approximately 600 employees. It serves as the nerve center for all of US Airways' nearly 1,400 daily mainline flights. As part of its merger with American Airlines, the airline intends to close the flight operations center and will consolidate with the American Airlines Integrated Flight Operations Center near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport near Fort Worth, the headquarters of American Airlines. The move is expected to take within 18 months.[100]

Community support[edit]

Do Crew[edit]

The US Airways Do Crew program is the airline's employee community-service program. Employee volunteers in the program participate in community-based projects on a monthly basis through local chapters in Boston, Charlotte, Las Vegas, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Washington DC and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.[citation needed]

Livery[edit]

A US Airways (formerly America West) Airbus A320, landing at Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver, BC
Main article: US Airways livery
US Airways Airbus A330-200 arrives London Heathrow Airport (2014)

US Airways has operated various liveries under the US Airways name. In general, the Express and Shuttle divisions have had liveries that closely paralleled the company-wide livery at the time.

The pre-merger US Airways featured a dark blue livery; after it merged with America West, the new US Airways, now operating in sunny areas in the Southwestern United States, switched to a mostly white livery.[101]

Starting in January 2014, following the merger of US Airways with American Airlines, all US Airways aircraft will be progressively painted in American Airlines livery. The first jet to re-enter revenue service was an Airbus A319, tail number N700UW, which previously sported a Star Alliance branding.[102]

Slogans[edit]

  • USAir– "Fly the USA on USAir"
  • USAir (late 80s)– "USAir is Your Choice"
  • PSA and USAir (late 80s)– "Now our smile is even wider."
  • USAir (early 90s)– "USAir Begins With You"
  • USAir (mid 90s)– "Fly the Flag With USAir"
  • USAir (mid 90s)– "Got time to spare, fly USAir"
  • US Airways (early 2000s)– "Where I Fly the Flag"
  • US Airways (post 9/11)– "The Carrier of Choice"
  • US Airways (first bankruptcy) "Together We Fly"
  • US Airways (post first bankruptcy)– "Clear Skies Ahead"
  • US Airways (post America West merger)– "Fly with US"

Destinations[edit]

A US Airways Airbus A319 aircraft on final approach to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C.
US Airways hubs listed by departures (Average as of 4Q13)
Rank Airport Flights
1 Charlotte, North Carolina 613
2 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 429
3 Phoenix, Arizona 255
4 Washington D.C.- National Airport 222

US Airways operates 3,031 flights a day to 193 destinations in 24 countries from its hubs in Phoenix, Charlotte, and Philadelphia.

US Airways' routes are concentrated along the East Coast of the United States, Southwestern United States, and the Caribbean, with a number of routes serving Europe and primary destinations along the U.S. West Coast. The airline's western U.S. presence has increased following the merger with America West. Codesharing with United Airlines has helped US Airways by enabling the airline to offer its customers service throughout the Midwest, Great Plains, and Rocky Mountains states. Services to South America, Asia, and Australia also are offered via the American Airlines codeshare. Likewise, American passengers benefit from increased access via US Airways to the U.S. East Coast, Europe, and the Caribbean. US Airways Express carriers operate a large number of domestic routes, primarily into US Airways' hubs and focus cities, but with some exceptions, particularly small markets where the regional express carriers operate service under the EAS program, as well as some point-to-point commuter routes in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions and south through the Carolinas. US Airways is the only major US airline that has never flown to Eastern Asia although they have codeshares with American Airlines.

In 2007, the airline applied for flights to Bogotá, Colombia, however its application was denied by the U.S. Department of Transportation after the agency awarded Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, and Spirit Airlines the routes from Delta's New York-JFK hub, JetBlue from Orlando, and Spirit from Fort Lauderdale.

Since 2008, US Airways and other airlines have struggled with the price of fuel. Despite that, US Airways CEO Doug Parker said "It [Philadelphia] is our international gateway. We'd like to expand that". Service to London Heathrow Airport began in March 2008. The airline also added three international flights during the summer of 2009, including Tel Aviv, from Philadelphia.[103] US Airways also started year-round service between Charlotte and Rio de Janeiro which will end early 2015.[104]

In 2009, US Airways and Delta reached an agreement to exchange landing/takeoff slots at both LaGuardia Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. US Airways also plans to receive additional route authority to São Paulo from Delta as a result of this transaction. Service to São Paulo from its Charlotte hub was discontinued on October 1, 2014.[105]

On November 21, 2012, the airline was awarded a landing slot at London Heathrow Airport in order to operate nonstop flights between Charlotte and London Heathrow Airport. The new service was to complement the airline's existing route from Philadelphia to London Heathrow.[106] The airline began service from Charlotte to Heathrow on March 30, 2013 replacing its existing service from Charlotte to Gatwick, which ended the airline's service to Gatwick.[107]

Codeshare agreements[edit]

US Airways has codeshare agreements with the following airlines as of June 2014:[108]

Former agreements

Fleet[edit]

Main article: US Airways fleet

US Airways has a fleet average age of 12.8 years as of July 2013.[116]

By mid-2014, US Airways will maintain a predominantly Airbus fleet, with some Boeing jets and small fleet of Embraer jets. The post-merger US Airways continues to operate the largest fleet of Airbus aircraft in the world.[117]

Subsidiaries PSA and Piedmont exclusively fly Bombardier CRJ and de Havilland Dash 8 (DHC-8) line of aircraft.

Cabin[edit]

Business Class[edit]

Business Class is US Airways' long-haul business class product, found on flights to Europe, the Middle East, and South America. Presently there are three types of Business Class seating in the US Airways fleet:

  • Fully flat suites in a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 configuration are found on all Airbus A330-200 and A330-300s. These are the Cirrus model designed by Sicma Aeroseat and feature a fully flat semi-private "pod".[118]
  • Angled lie flat seats on all Boeing 767-200s.
  • Internationally configured Boeing 757-200s feature deep recline cradle seats with around 165 degrees of recline.

Previously, the first row of all Airbus A330-300s were fully flat seats, formerly US Airways' international first class product. With the transition from three- to two-class international service, these seats were, for a time, offered at a fee to Business Class customers.

Every seat has a personal on-demand video screen either attached to the arm rest or as a portable unit passed out by the crew that offers movies, games and syndicated television shows in multiple languages. There is also an EmPower or AC outlet at each seat.[119]

The airline offers complimentary food and beverage service for all Business Class passengers.

First Class[edit]

First Class is the premium cabin on domestic and short-haul international service, and is offered on all mainline aircraft as well as US Airways Express aircraft over 50 seats. Seat pitch ranges from 35 to 38 inches (89 to 97 cm) and a seat width ranging from 20 to 21 inches (51 to 53 cm). Free wine, beer and spirits and a snack basket are offered on all flights, as are pillows and blankets. Meals are provided on flights of 3.5 hours or longer.

Main Cabin[edit]

Main Cabin is available on all aircraft, with a seat pitch ranging from 30 to 33 inches (76 to 84 cm) and a seat width ranging from 17 to 18 inches (43 to 46 cm). Domestic service features a buy-on-board program with full meals available for purchase on flights of 3.5 hours or longer, while shorter flights offer snack boxes. Coffee, tea, and soft drinks are complimentary with alcohol available for purchase. Transatlantic and South American flights include standard meals and beverages (including wine) free of charge, with premium meals available for purchase, which include one alcoholic beverage.[120]

Inflight entertainment[edit]

US Airways offers GoGo Inflight Internet on Airbus A321 aircraft, Embraer 190/175/170 fleets, and Airbus A319/A320 fleet. US Airways has also signed up for GoGo Vision streaming video service which will be available on all GoGo equipped aircraft. Flights to Europe, South America, and Hawaii operated with Boeing aircraft do feature movies and TV episodes on overhead screens in Coach. The Airbus A330s used for transatlantic service feature AVOD at every seat in both Economy and Business Class with a selection of movies, TV episodes, music and games. Complimentary headsets are available in both Business and Economy on flights to Europe, South America, and the Middle East.

GoGo is usually priced US$5–15 on domestic flights. It is not yet available on international flights.

Dividend Miles[edit]

USAir dividendmiles.png

Dividend Miles is US Airways Group's frequent-flyer program. Members earn one mile for every mile flown on US Airways on any published fare – paid flights taken in First Class or Envoy receive a 50% mileage bonus. Members can also earn miles on flights on partner airlines and for partner hotel stays, car rentals, shopping at the Dividend Miles mall and for purchases made with a US Airways credit card. Miles can be redeemed for free flights, upgrades, and more. Dividend Miles will be absorbed into American Airlines's AAdvantage program in the second quarter of 2015.[121]

In addition to its US Airways Express and Oneworld partnerships, the Dividend Miles program with other partner airlines or programs include:[122]

Dividend Miles Preferred[edit]

Above the base level, Dividend miles offers four elite or preferred tiers for frequent fliers:

  • Silver at 25,000 preferred qualifying miles or 30 preferred qualifying segments in a calendar year
  • Gold at 50,000 miles or 60 segments
  • Platinum at 75,000 miles or 90 segments
  • Chairman's at 100,000 miles or 120 segments

Special Dividends and Million Milers[edit]

Members who exceed their tier's qualification goal by 10,000 miles or 15 segments are entitled to Special Dividends rewards:

  • Members who reach 35,000 miles or 45 segments are given a day pass to the US Club and the ability to give a friend or family member a Silver preferred trial.
  • Members who reach 60,000 miles or 75 segments can add their spouse or domestic partner to their US Club membership at no cost.
  • Members who reach 85,000 miles or 105 segments get the right to nominate a friend to Silver Preferred status and receive space available first class travel on award tickets.
  • Members who reach 125,000 miles or 150 segments receive a free US Airways Club membership and the right to nominate a friend to Gold Preferred.
  • For every additional 25,000 miles or 30 segments that members reach, they can nominate another friend to Gold Preferred.
  • Members who log one million actual flight miles on US Airways, US Airways Express and America West since becoming a Dividend Miles member become Million Milers. Million milers are granted permanent Silver Preferred status (as long as they remain an active member in the Dividend Miles Program).

FlightFund[edit]

America West Airlines had a frequent flyer program called FlightFund. Following the US Airways-America West merger, FlightFund was merged into the Dividend Miles program.

Airport lounges[edit]

US Airways Club[edit]

US Airways' airport lounge was called the US Airways Club. Prior to the merger with American Airlines, it had 19 lounges in 13 airports across the United States. As part of its merger with American Airlines, all US Airways clubs were gradually renamed as American's Admirals Club in 2014, except for a few that were closed down. Members of the US Airways Club have complimentary access to all Admirals Clubs.[123][124]

The following customers also have complimentary access to Admirals Club locations:

  • Passengers traveling in Business Class (renamed from Envoy Class)
  • American Airlines Admirals Club members[124]
  • Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members, except American's AAdvantage members and US Airways Dividend Miles members who are travelling domestically.

The Envoy Lounge[edit]

Philadelphia Terminal A formerly had an Envoy Lounge reserved exclusively for Envoy Class, Star Alliance international premium passengers and Star Alliance Gold members traveling on long-haul international flights. Due to the lounge's proximity to departing long-haul international flights, this lounge offered a much wider array of food than what is typically found at US Airways Clubs. In 2011, the airline converted the Envoy Lounge into a standard US Airways Club.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

The incidents and crashes listed below include only those of US Airways and US Air (and not predecessor or merger airlines such as Allegheny, Piedmont, PSA or America West; or partnering regional commuter airlines operating US Airways flights under the brand US Airways Express).

US Airways reported incidents
Flight Date Aircraft Location Description Injuries
Fatal Serious Minor Uninjured
5050[125] September 20, 1989 Boeing 737-400 Flushing, New York Deflection of rudder during takeoff 2 3 18 40
1493[126] February 1, 1991 Boeing 737-300 Los Angeles, California ATC controller separation error 34 13 17 37
405[127] March 22, 1992 Fokker 28-4000 Flushing, New York Improper deicing procedures, pilot error 27 9 12 3
1016[128] July 2, 1994 McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 Charlotte, North Carolina Windshear during missed approach 37 16 4
427[129] September 8, 1994 Boeing 737-300 Hopewell Township, Beaver County, Penn. Uncommanded rudder deflection 132
1549 January 15, 2009 Airbus A320-200 New York, New York Bird strike in both engines, and dual engine failure (NTSB) 2 3 150

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External links[edit]