History of US Airways and American Airlines


Following the Wright brothers' successful first flight in 1903, business took to the skies. Some early companies, such as All American Aviation, provided mail courier service for specific regions of the US. All American Aviation, which would later become US Airways, was founded in 1939 as a courier service for the Western Pennsylvania-Ohio region. Another early company, The Aviation Corporation, started acquiring air couriers and other small aviation-related businesses in 1929. In 1930, these small companies became incorporated as American Airways, and in 1934 became American Airlines, Inc.

All American Aviation started providing passenger flight service in 1949, and changed its name to All American Airways. In 1953, All American Airways changed names once again to Allegheny Air and embarked on a massive expansion of its territory by merging with aviation corporations from other regions. It entered the Midwest in 1968 after merging with Lake Central Airlines, New York and New England after merging with Mohawk Airlines in 1972. After the US Congress passed the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, existing aviation corporations could more easily enter new markets, and All American Aviation entered the US South and West in 1979 and changed its name to USAir. USAir completed one of the largest mergers of aviation corporations in US history when it merged with Piedmont Airlines in 1989, even though an administrative law judge from the US Department of Transportation ruled against the merger in 1987.

In the years following World War II, American Airlines underwent significant expansion and started offering passenger flights. American Airlines provided coast-to-coast flights across the US in 195, and transcontinental flights in 1959. It also offered in-flight meals and other services to its domestic flights and added jet aircraft to its fleet in the 1960s. Like USAir, American Airlines benefitted from airline deregulation in 1978 and provided more domestic and international destinations. During the 1980s, American Airlines continued to grow, by increasing the usage and availability of its travel-information SABRE computer program, allowed for its passenger aircraft to be used for freight transportation and added new flight destinations and travel hubs in the US.

Both USAir and American Airlines encountered fiscal troubles during the past two decades. Although USAir added European routes in 1996 and changed its name to US Airways, US Airways' ongoing financial troubles worsened in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002, filed for reorganization in 2005 and obtained a single operating certificate from FAA in 2007. Meanwhile American Airlines parent company, AMR, reported $2.1 and 1.5 billion losses for 2008 and 2009, respectively. AMR filed for bankruptcy in November 2011. After exiting bankruptcy in November 2013, American Airlines began the merger process with US Airways.


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