US Airways is an airline based in Tempe, Arizona, owned by US Airways Group, Inc.. Currently the seventh largest airline in the United States, US Airways has a fleet of 258 aircraft and serves 176 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe. The airline was acquired by America West Holdings Corporation in late 2005, operations are expected to be combined with America West Airlines in 2007. The airline became the 15th member of the Star Alliance on May 4, 2004.
US Airways operates hubs in Charlotte and Philadelphia. It has a secondary hub at Pittsburgh and focus airports New York LaGuardia, Washington Reagan, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale. In addition to these cities, merger partner America West Airlines operates hubs at Phoenix and Las Vegas.
The airline operates the US Airways Shuttle, a US Airways brand which provides hourly service between key Northeastern markets in competition with Delta Air Lines' Delta Shuttle. Regional airline service is branded as US Airways Express, operated by contract and subsidiary airline companies, along with US Airways itself as MidAtlantic Airways.
As the largest carrier at Washington-Reagan, US Airways was disproportionately impacted by that airport's extended closure following the September 11 terrorist attacks. The resulting financial disaster precipitated the closure of the airline's MetroJet subsidiary, the de-hubbing of Baltimore-Washington International Airport, and the furloughing of thousands of employees. The airline entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy on August 11, 2002. The company received a government-guaranteed loan through the Air Transportation Stabilization Board and was able to exit bankruptcy after a relatively short period. On October 19, 2005, the loan was repaid when the debt was refinanced with other lenders.
In an attempt to stem further financial losses, in early 2004 US Airways officially de-hubbed Pittsburgh International Airport, and began a process of de-emphasizing its hub-and-spoke system to capitalize on direct flights between major eastern airports such as Washington-Reagan, New York-LaGuardia, and Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood. This emphasis on more direct flights has been undertaken by many airlines of late, as an attempt to capitalize on the highest-profit routes, and is modeled after Southwest Airlines' system, one which most U.S. airlines used until the mid-1980s.
However, high fuel costs and deadlocked negotiations with organized labor (chiefly the Air Line Pilots Association, who were 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 irregularly high 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 DOT, however, found that the problems were caused mainly due to poor planning by management.
On May 19, 2005, US Airways Group announced that it would merge with Arizona-based America West Holdings Corporation (parent company of America West Airlines), whose strength in the West would complement US Airways' routes in the Northeast, Europe, and the Caribbean. The new entity retains the US Airways name due to its non-regional emphasis, as well as its greater worldwide brand recognition, its Dividend Miles frequent flyer program, and its participation in the Star Alliance.
The "new" US Airways is 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 merger between the two airlines, including consolidating all aircraft under the US Airways certificate, is scheduled to be completed in 2007, approximately 18-24 months following the merger of the holding companies in 2005. For the initial merger announcement, click here. Also, see: Merger with US Airways Group for additional information.
On September 13, 2005, America West's shareholders voted to approve the merger agreement. 95.5 percent of shareholders approved the transaction. See: results of shareholder voting.
On September 16, 2005, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia approved US Airways' Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization, clearing the way for the merger to be closed on September 27, 2005, in conjunction with US Airways Group's emergence from bankruptcy. For the merger approval announcement, click here.
A new livery has been unveiled that incorporates colors from the 4 airlines that became US Airways: Allegheny (red and blue); America West (white and waving gray lines); Piedmont (also red and blue); and PSA (red). These four airlines will have their logos in miniature near the main cabin door. There will also be 4-8 "retrojets" painted in the final livery colors of each of those predecessor airlines, but with US Airways titles.
On September 27, 2005, the merger of the two holding companies was completed. The combined airline has branded itself as the "World's Largest Low-Fare Airline". In January of 2006, the airline began consolidating its operations under the US Airways brand.
Beginning January, 2006, all America West flights are branded as US Airways.
On February 9, 2006, US Airways became the first American "legacy" carrier to add the Embraer 190 to its mainline fleet.
US Airways' routes are heavily concentrated in the eastern United States and Caribbean, with a number of routes to Europe and several destinations on the west coast. Their west coast presence has increased dramatically with the merger with America West Airlines. US Airways Express carriers operate a number of routes, primarily into US Airways' hubs and focus cities, but with a few exceptions, in particular where smaller US Airways Express carriers operate service under the EAS program, and also some point-to-point routes in the northeast and Carolinas.