America West Holdings

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America West Airlines headquarters, later the US Airways headquarters

America West Holdings Corporation was an Arizona-based company whose primary holding was America West Airlines. On May 19, 2005, America West Holdings Corporation announced it would acquire the Arlington, Virginia-based US Airways Group.

The merged company adopted the well-known US Airways Group name and was based in America West's former corporate offices in Tempe. US Airways Group corporate offices in Arlington were closed, and most US Airways management were laid off. America West CEO Doug Parker became CEO of the merged company. The merger was completed on September 27, 2005. A merger of the two airlines' FAA operating certificates occurred on September 25, 2007 (the US Airways certificate survived), ending the 24-year history of the America West Airlines name.


The company was founded September 4, 1981 by a group of investors led by Edward R. Beauvais. The first flight for America West Airlines took place on August 1, 1983 using a leased Boeing 737.[1][2] Beauvais ran the company until he resigned in 1992.[3]

In December, 2004, America West Holdings Corporation announced interest in buying part of ATA Airlines, but did not submit a bid.

Merger with US Airways Group[edit]

On April 22, 2005, it was reported that America West Holdings Corporation was in talks with US Airways Group, which owned US Airways, regarding a possible merger with the latter.[4] As reported in the press, US Airways would create a new holding company. Shares in that company would be given to America West Holdings shareholders as well as creditors of US Airways.[citation needed]

On May 19, 2005, America West Holdings Corporation and US Airways Group announced plans to merge their operations. Doug Parker, America West's chief executive, said the merger would create "the nation's first full-service airline with the customer-friendly pricing structure of a low-fare carrier."[5] The proposed combined airline hoped to achieve profitability by cutting $600 million a year in costs. New equity investors, including Air Wisconsin Airways Corporation and ACE Aviation Holdings, the parent company of Air Canada, pledged to invest a total of $350 million in the new company. Airbus was also one of the investors.[6]

Later investments increased the total new equity raised to $565 million. Of that, ACE Aviation contributed $75 million for a 7% ownership stake. ACE Aviation also received a five-year, C$1.5 billion (US$1.19 billion) contract to maintain all of the merged company's mainline jets. ACE Aviation would also provide other services for the new company, including ground handling, training, and operation of regional jets. Such cooperation was expected to bring more traffic to Air Canada from the merged carriers, and lead to a code-sharing alliance in the future.[5]

On September 13, 2005, America West's shareholders approved the merger with 95.5 percent in favor.[6][7]

On September 16, 2005, the US Bankruptcy Court approved USAirways Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization, clearing the way for the merger to be closed as soon as September 27, 2005.[8] The merger was completed on September 27, 2005.

In the weeks leading up to the merger announcement, Phoenix-area media reported that local passengers worried about cuts in service to the city's Sky Harbor International Airport, where America West has its largest hub; such things have happened before when US Airways (or a predecessor company) merged with a regional airline. But while the new company would operate under the US Airways name, management would be led by America West Airlines managers and would be located at America West's Phoenix headquarters.

Under terms of the merger agreement, the America West board of Directors created two new entities. 1. A new "US Airways Group" was created to receive the bankrupt US Airways assets and form the new corporation. 2. "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".[9] The "America West Holdings" stockholders were required to authorize these changes. Upon completion the new "US Airways Group" would be owned by 37% of "America West Holdings" stockholders, 11% from the old "US Airways Group" debtholders, and 52% for new equity investors.[10] Both of the merged airlines retained their names and continued operating until September 25, 2007 when America West's FAA certificate was merged into US Airways.


  • America West Airlines
  • America West Express
  • America West Vacations This division provided vacation packages that include airfare, accommodations and optional rental cars at selected destinations. These are only offered for destinations that America West flies to or offers as a code share destination.


  1. ^ "America West Holdings Corporation". Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  2. ^ "Unofficial History of America West". Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  3. ^ "America West Airlines, Inc.". Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  4. ^ "America West Statement Regarding US Airways Discussions" (Press release). America West Holdings. 2005-08-22. Archived from the original on 7 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  5. ^ a b The Wall Street Journal
  6. ^ a b "America West shareholders approve proposed merger with US Airways". USATODAY. 2005-09-13. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  7. ^ "America West Holdings Corporation Announces Results of Stockholder Vote on the Adoption of the Merger Agreement With US Airways" (Press release). America West Holdings Corporation. 2005-09-13. Archived from the original on 7 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  8. ^ "US Airways Plan Of Reorganization Receives U.S. Bankruptcy Court Approval" (Press release). America West Holdings Corporation. 2005-09-16. 
  9. ^ "PROSPECTUS US AIRWAYS GROUP, INC.". p. A-2–4. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  10. ^ "PROSPECTUS US AIRWAYS GROUP, INC.". p. B-2–18. Retrieved 2008-08-23.