The original Piedmont Airlines began flying in 1948. Its route system stretched from Wilmington, N.C. northwest to Cincinnati, Ohio, with numerous intermediate stops. Early routes were operated with Douglas DC-3 aircraft. The airline was based at Smith-Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
As Piedmont grew over the years, their route system primarily served the U.S. states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. However, by the end of 1978, and while still under U.S. route regulation, Piedmont had grown to include an area stretching northward to New York City, New York and westward as far as Denver, Colorado and southward to Miami, Florida.
Prior to deregulation, Piedmont had no true hub system. The airline was known for flying large jets into relatively small airports and for connecting unlikely city pairs with jet flights. Examples of this include nonstop jet flights between Kinston , North Carolina and Florence, South Carolina; Roanoke, Virginia and Asheville, North Carolina; Lynchburg, Virginia and New York City's LaGuardia Airport; Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Bristol / Kingsport / Johnson City, Tennessee; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Lynchburg, Virginia.
Piedmont's fleet grew along with the airline. Piedmont began operations with the DC-3 but added the Fairchild F27, the Martin 4-0-4 and the Fairchild-Hiller FH 227B to their fleet by the 1960's. Routes in the late 1970s were operated with Japanese -built NAMC YS-11 A prop-jet aircraft and Boeing 737 -200 pure-jet aircraft. Boeing 727 aircraft were later added to the fleet. Interestly, one Boeing 727 that Piedmont purchased from Northwest Orient Airlines and placed into service was the aircraft that had been involved in the famous D.B. Cooper hijacking in the Pacific Northwest.
Following airline route deregulation in the late 1970s, the airline grew rapidly and began to a develop hub and spoke system with a hub at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. Later hubs included Baltimore/Washington International Airport outside of Baltimore, Maryland; James M. Cox Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio; and Syracuse Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, New York. The extent of Piedmont's route map grew as well, with nonstop flights to the west coast beginning from the Charlotte and Dayton hubs during the early 1980s. At that time, the airline introduced first class service for the first time on its long-haul Boeing 727-200 jets. Eventually, Piedmont began nonstop service from Charlotte to London Gatwick Airport in the United Kingdom utilizing newly acquired Boeing 767 aircraft.
Piedmont's expanding route system, its loyal passenger following, and its profitability caused it to gain notice among other airlines for a potential buyout. In August 1989, Piedmont Airlines was absorbed by USAir (formerly Allegheny Airlines), which had previously focused its route network around the northeastern states. The combined carrier became one of the East Coast's largest airlines.
Piedmont Airlines, Inc. operates as an US Airways Express carrier and is a wholly owned subsidiary of US Airways (LCC). Our airline was founded by Mr. Richard Henson in 1931 as Henson Flying Service, a fix base operator. In 1962 scheduled airline service commenced as Hagerstown Commuter. Today, Piedmont operates nearly 490 daily departures to 55 cities throughout the eastern United States and Canada. We currently operate 55 deHavilland DHC-8 turbo prop aircraft.
On September 27, 2005 the American West/US Airways merger was officially made final. The merger creates the 6th largest airline in the United States. The name of the new combined companies is US Airways with headquarters in Tempe, Arizona. US Airways is the first nationwide low cost, low-fare network airline. As a wholly-owned carrier for US Airways, Piedmont Airlines will be an integral part of the new company.
Piedmonts corporate headquarters is located in Salisbury, Maryland which is located about one hundred miles southeast of Baltimore, Maryland. Piedmont Airlines employs nearly 4000 aviation professionals.