StatesWest was founded by Phoenix entrepreneur Rudy Miller  in 1986 and began operating from its base at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in 1987 with 36-passenger Short 360 turboprop aircraft. Later that year, 19-passenger BAe Jetstream 31s turboprops were added to the fleet.
During the airline's lifespan as an independent carrier, StatesWest served San Diego, California; Burbank, California; Ontario, California; Orange County, California; Los Angeles, California; Tucson, Arizona; Lake Havasu City, Arizona; Bullhead City, Arizona; Prescott, Arizona; Sierra Vista/Fort Huachuca, Arizona and briefly to Las Vegas, Nevada as well as Albuquerque, New Mexico and Telluride, Colorado.
In late 1988, StatesWest determined the Short 360 and Jetstream 31 aircraft were inefficient for the company's mission. Both types were phased out in favor of 19-passenger Beechcraft 1900C turboprop aircraft. In 1989, the airline entered a small niche market by offering daily nonstop service between Scottsdale, Arizona and Orange County, California, but that route was discontinued in 1990.
Future Scottsdale city council member and current mayor, W.J. "Jim" Lane was elected StatesWest president and chief operating officer on January 31, 1990. Shortly after, StatesWest discontinued all flying under its own name and entered into an agreement with USAir (now US Airways) to operate as USAir Express by providing feeder service to its hubs at San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco which were remnants of the original Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) route system. The USAir Express operation began on July 15, 1990 and also included flights at Phoenix and Tucson.
During the contract with USAir, StatesWest acquired two 13 passenger Beechcraft 1300 turboprop aircraft to supplement the fleet of B1900Cs. Many new routes were added including several that were started by PSA and later discontinued by USAir such as to Concord and Stockton, California. The aircraft were painted in USAir colors but included a smile under the nose remembering and honoring PSA. In late 1992 StatesWest declared bankruptcy and closed its doors the following year as USAir sharply reduced the size of its operations in California.
The StatesWest turboprop aircraft fleet consisted of:
- Short 360
- British Aerospace BAe Jetstream 31
- Beechcraft 1900C
- Beechcraft 1300 (Super King Air)
- de Havilland Canada Dash 8 (DHC-8-100)
- Bullhead City/Laughlin
- Lake Havasu City
- Sierra Vista/Fort Huachuca
- Bakersfield (US*)
- Concord (US*)
- Fresno (US*)
- Los Angeles
- Monterey (US*)
- Orange County
- Palm Springs (US*)
- Sacramento (US*)
- San Diego
- Santa Barbara (US*)
- Stockton (US*)
- Las Vegas
(US*) are the destinations added after becoming a USAir Express operator.