Visiting US airways the other day for a farewell luncheon was sort of sad. Quite, actually. The hallways were empty, the offices were empty and behind some of the glass doors you could see that whole departments just weren't there any more. The airline had invited some journos over before the headquarters flew to Arizona and the airline becomes America West with the US Airways name. It made one scribbler think of the days when the airline was freshly minted as US Air and the old name - Allegheny Airlines - as still a recent memory rather than a piece of the corporate archives. The offices were new, too, at least as of 1988, when then-chairman Edwin Colodny announced the move from the upper levels of a maintenance hanger at Washington National Airport, saying with great pride, "we don't have to live over the store anymore!"
Technorati tag: USAirways Airlines
The corporate archives were on the minds of some of the US Airways folks who have been around for a while and who are not planning to make the move out to the suburb of Tempeto stay with the new carrier. America West is a young airline - it started in 1983 and its first plane was only a decade old. US Airways by contrast began in 1939 as All American Aviation, a name that has a legacy only as an abbreviation in some pilot union communications that refer to the company as AAA. By the 1960s it was Allegheny and that changed to USAir in 1979, 11 years before it took over the larger and, some say, better-managed Piedmont; it became US Airways in 1997 in a major image overhaul.
The name may remain US Airways but the airline has acknowledged its need to preserve a sense of history with the decision to include the logos of some of the past airline companies as part of several new paint schemes the merged carrier is testing. Aircraft will have Allegheny, Piedmont, Pacific Southwest (see above) and America West logos on their sides; US Airways will also paint four aircraft in "throwback" or heritage paint schemes to replicate those of predecessors, much as American Airlines has done with a Boeing 737-800 in 1970s-era 'Astrojet' paint scheme or as Air Canada has done with an A320 in the livery of Trans Canada Airlines, a predecessor that had ceased to exist in 1965, before Airbus was making narrowbodies.
US Airways is also building up historical exhibits, mostly though employee volunteer efforts such as one at its former hub of Pittsburgh. US Airways equipment is also on display at the Baltimore/Washington International Airport - yet another former hub.