Mergers in the airplane industry are hardly a new thing anymore. Growth exploded after World War II as air travel became commonplace. All American Aviation changed its name to All American Airways and began passenger service in 1949. As it grew it changed its name to Allegheny Airlines to honor the mountains and river of the same name in its network. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Allegheny continued to grow, gobbling up Lake Central and Mohawk Airlines before deregulation came to the industry in 1978 forcing Allegheny to then change its name to US Air.
US Air expanded its routes throughout the West eventually acquiring Pacific Southwest Airlines in 1988 and Piedmont Airlines (which had trans-Atlantic routes) in 1989. In 1997 it officially became Us Airways and by 2005 it merged with America West to become one of the most dominant carriers in the world. The most recent merger announcement — US Airways and American Airlines — will officially end the storied brand as it takes on the name of its smaller acquisition when it soon becomes known as, simply, American Airlines.
So in just over 60 years the use of the name ‘American’ has come full circle. And, remarkably, in more than fifty years of these continuous changes, three of the seven US Airways employees who have been with the company during all that time were recently honored when US Airways Magazine published a loving glimpse of what it takes to stick around so long. My crew and I had the honor of spending the day recently at National Airport with these three ‘youthful’ employees and photographed them amid the controlled chaos that exists at this busy US Airways, …um American, hub.