MetroJet (American airline)

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MetroJet (American airline) Logo.jpg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1998
Commenced operations June 1, 1998
Ceased operations December 2001 [Dissolved with the parent company (US Airways)]
Hubs Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Frequent-flyer program Dividend Miles
Fleet size 49
Destinations 25
Parent company US Airways
Headquarters Arlington, Virginia
Key people S. Michael Scheeringa
(Vice President)
A Boeing 737-200 in MetroJet colors
A MetroJet Boeing 737-200

MetroJet was a no-frills airline brand operated as a wholly owned division of US Airways from 1998 until 2001.


After the conclusion of painstaking labor negotiations in 1997, US Airways sought to head off burgeoning competition from low-cost carriers in its strongest region, the U.S. Northeast. Competitor Southwest Airlines was encroaching from its base in the West as were Delta Express and AirTran Airways from the South. Like them it would offer a single class of service, operate a single type of aircraft, which consisted of the Boeing 737-200, and fly a limited network, based at the airline's Baltimore hub. Like similar projects from traditional carriers, including Continental Lite, Delta Express, and Shuttle by United, it would participate in the parent airline's frequent flyer program and other systems.

MetroJet was launched on June 1, 1998, flying from its base at Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Cleveland, Ohio, Providence, Rhode Island, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Manchester, New Hampshire. It began with five dedicated aircraft, repainted in a distinctive livery with a red and gray fuselage, and the traditional blue tail with the US Airways logo. It was slated for a measured expansion over the next two years that eventually included flights from Washington Dulles International Airport and several point-to-point operations, with an emphasis on connecting Northeastern passengers to destinations in Florida.

MetroJet operations did not improve US Airways's loss-making record. Many of MetroJet's passengers were cannibalized from other US Airways operations, such as its major presence at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Its aircraft were among the oldest and least fuel efficient in US Airways's fleet, and like its parent its labor costs were among the highest in the industry. Meanwhile, it faced cutthroat competition with Southwest, its main competitor at BWI. In an October 28, 2001 interview with Business Travel News, CEO David Siegel revealed that MetroJet's average cost per available seat mile was 8 cents, compared to 6 cents for Southwest and 10 cents for mainline US Airways.

The September 11, 2001 attacks gave US Airways a rationale to invoke a force majeure clause in its labor contracts to close the operation, announced on September 24. It represented, too, US Airways's surrender of Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport as a hub, which it had inherited from an earlier merger with Piedmont Airlines. Once the largest carrier there, its number of scheduled flights had fallen by 60 percent by the time the last MetroJet 737 was retired in December.


See also[edit]

  • Song (airline), a low-cost subsidiary of Delta Air Lines that operated from 2003 until 2006 that replaced Delta Express
  • Ted, a low-cost subsidiary of United Airlines that operated from 2004 until 2009


Further reading[edit]

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