Piedmont Airlines, Inc. // is an American regional airline operating for American Eagle, formerly US Airways Express. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Airlines Group, headquartered in unincorporated Wicomico County, Maryland, near the city of Salisbury. It conducts flight operations using Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft. Piedmont Airlines, Inc. also provides ground handling and customer service for airports in the northeastern and western United States. Its main base is Philadelphia International Airport with an additional hub at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
|Founded||1961 As Henson Airlines|
|Hubs||As American Eagle:|
|Alliance||Oneworld (affiliate; 2014–present)|
|Parent company||American Airlines Group|
|Employees||9,800+ (April, 2019)|
The airline was formed in 1961 by Richard A. Henson as Henson Aviation, a fixed-base operator in Hagerstown, Maryland. It began its first scheduled flights to Washington National Airport in 1962 under the Hagerstown Commuter name, later changed to Henson Airlines. Allegheny Airlines (which became US Airways, which in turn has now merged with American Airlines) and Henson began one of the world's first code sharing arrangements in 1967. Henson re-branded itself as an Allegheny Commuter carrier using Beechcraft 99 aircraft. It initially developed a route structure serving Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Baltimore, while establishing a new headquarters for Allegheny Commuter at Salisbury, Maryland in 1968. In the 1970s, the airline upgraded to Short 330 and de Havilland Canada DHC-7 Dash 7 turboprops.
In 1983, Piedmont Aviation bought Henson and re-branded the airline as "Henson, The Piedmont Regional Airline." Under Piedmont's control, the airline expanded rapidly, particularly in Florida. Both were purchased by the USAir Group in 1987 with Piedmont absorbed two years later and Henson's aircraft repainted in USAir Express livery. The 1980s saw rapid growth by the company with the upgrade of its fleet to the de Havilland Canada Dash 8 aircraft and fleet expansion. With the growth in capacity, the airline expanded to Florida, including numerous intrastate routes in Florida, and it opened a maintenance facility in Jacksonville.
The Piedmont name was resurrected in 1993, when USAir (now American Airlines) renamed Henson to "Piedmont Airlines", to protect the Piedmont brand name, which could be used by others if not exercised in trade use for a period of time. USAir continued this practice by changing the name of its two other wholly owned regional airline subsidiaries, Jetstream and Suburban Airlines, to PSA Airlines and Allegheny Airlines, respectively. (Pacific Southwest Airlines was the name of a California-based airline merged into USAir.) In 1997, USAir was renamed US Airways, and Piedmont and Allegheny were likewise re-branded as US Airways Express carriers. US Airways merged Allegheny Airlines into Piedmont in 2004.
The airline had more than 7,000 employees, as of December 2017. As of December 2017, the airline operated approximately 400 daily flights to more than 55 destinations.
The airline operates maintenance bases at Philadelphia International Airport, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Roanoke Municipal Airport, Richmond International Airport, Harrisburg International Airport, Salisbury Regional Airport, and Albany International Airport.
Piedmont has crew bases in two locations:
As of May 2019 the Piedmont Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft.
|Beechcraft Model 99||1967||1987||Short 330|
|Short 330||1977||1989||de Havilland Canada Dash 8-100|
|de Havilland Canada Dash 7||1979||1997||de Havilland Canada Dash 8-300|
|de Havilland Canada Dash 8-100||1993||2017||Embraer ERJ-145||Last flight was November 29, 2017.|
|de Havilland Canada Dash 8-200||1996||2008|
|de Havilland Canada Dash 8-300||2000||2018||Embraer ERJ-145||Last flight was July 4, 2018.|
Incidents and accidentsEdit
- On September 23, 1985, Henson Airlines Flight 1517, a Beechcraft B99 Airliner 15-passenger turboprop airplane, crashed near Grottoes, Virginia. The crash was fatal to all 12 passengers and both crewmembers; This was the first fatality of a female commercial U.S. pilot, First Officer Zilda A. Spadaro-Wolan. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that part of the probable cause of the crash was the airline's failure to standardize the cockpit configurations of its aircraft and on its failure to provide adequate training to its pilots.
- On November 16, 2008, Flight 4551, a US Airways Express de Havilland Dash-8 turboprop operated by Piedmont Airlines, took off from Lehigh Valley International Airport at 8:20am heading to Philadelphia International Airport, had to make an emergency landing. The flight crew was indicated that the front nose gear hadn't come down and had to make a flyover the runway for confirmation. Of 35 passengers and 3 crew, there were no injuries. The aircraft (N326EN) incurred only minor damage and was returned to service shortly thereafter.
- On January 1, 2011, US Airways Express Flight 4352, a Piedmont Airlines-operated de Havilland Dash-8 turboprop forced an evacuation of the U.S. Capitol and fighter jets were scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base after Flight 4352 suffered radio problems on approach to Washington, DC's Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and strayed into restricted airspace. The Capitol was evacuated for approximately 20 minutes until the Dash-8 aircraft landed at Reagan National Airport.
- On January 7, 2011, a Bombardier Dash 8-100, operating as Piedmont Airlines Flight 4507 under US Airways Express from Philadelphia International Airport to Tweed New Haven Regional Airport in Connecticut was struck by lightning over the Long Island Sound. The captain reported electrical problems and diverted safely to Long Island Macarthur Airport due to more favorable weather conditions. The aircraft had 33 passengers aboard who were then bussed to New Haven.
- On May 18, 2013, US Airways Express Flight 4560 made a belly landing at Newark Liberty International Airport after landing gear would not extend. All passengers and crew members were evacuated safely.
- "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View". av-info.faa.gov. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
- "Career Opportunities." Piedmont Airlines. Retrieved on May 20, 2009. "5443 Airport Terminal Rd Salisbury, MD 21804 "
- "Our Company". Retrieved 2016-11-09.
- "Piedmont History". Retrieved 2016-11-09.
- Flight International 12–18 April 2005
- "Piedmont Airlines > Our Company > What We Do > Crew Bases". piedmont-airlines.com. Retrieved 2018-02-15.
- "Piedmont Airlines Fleet Details and History". www.planespotters.net. 2018-06-17. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
- "After 33 years, Piedmont Airlines retires planes that revolutionized regional industry". Delmarva Daily Times. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
- The first female commercial U.S. pilot fatality involving a propeller aircraft was that of First Officer Zilda A. Spadaro-Wolan, in the Henson Airlines flight 1517 turboprop crash of September 23, 1985 near Grottoes, Virginia."Aircraft Accident Report: Henson Airlines Flight 1517" (PDF).
- "Accident: Piedmont DH8C at Philadelphia on Nov 16th 2008, nose gear did not deploy". avherald.com. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
- "Aviation Photo #1445445: De Havilland Canada DHC-8-311 Dash 8 - US Airways Express (Piedmont Airlines)". Airliners.net. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
- Sarah Brumfield (January 1, 2011). "Pilot error prompts evacuation of U.S. Capitol building". thestar.com. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
- Mary Compton (January 1, 2011). "Jets Scrambled Over Capitol Hill Airspace Scare". ABC News. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
- "US Airways Conn.-bound flight safely lands in NY". The Seattle Times. 2011-01-07. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
- NBC News (May 18, 2013). "Plane makes belly landing at Newark Airport, no injuries reported". Retrieved May 20, 2013.