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Allegheny Airlines – OPShots.net Featured Airline

Talk about loud…these little guys by far were the loudest aircraft around in the late 70s and early 80s. Photo: NwFedEx 757 – OPShots.net

Allegheny Airlines (IATA: AL, ICAO: ALO, Call sign: ALLEGHENY) operated out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, from 1952 to 1979. It was a forerunner of today’s US Airways with headquarters at Washington National Airport in Arlington County, Virginia. Allegheny Airlines began as All American Aviation Company providing mail delivery and passenger operations starting on 7 March 1939.

An Allegheny DC9 on short final into Cleveland Hopkins. Photo: NwFedEx 757– OPShots.net

In 1949 the company was renamed All American Airways as it switched from airmail to passenger service. On 1 January 1953 it was again renamed, to Allegheny Airlines. In August 1953 it scheduled flights to 32 airports and in May 1968 to 46; the June 1978 timetable shows 53 airports plus 30 more that just had Allegheny Commuter.In 1960 Allegheny headquarters was in Washington, D.C.

A Allegheny Airlines Convair 580 departing the A concourse at Cleveland Hopkins. Photo: NwFedEx 757 – OPShots.net

In the early 1960s Allegheny added the Convair 540 turboprop. The aircraft proved unreliable, with many problems with its British-made Napier Eland turbines that had replaced the Convair’s piston engines. The airline bought new Fairchild F-27Js that the company named “Vistaliner”. The F-27J was a U.S.-built version of the Fokker F27. The company was jokingly referred to as “Agony Air”. The airline switched to General Motors/Allison turboprops in the Convair 580 which the carrier named the “Vistacruiser”.

Allegheny Airlines 727 was captured in July 1978 when the A concourse at Cleveland Hopkins was being renovated from its previous single level, to a multi-level concourse with jetways! Photo: Chris Jake – OPShots.net

Allegheny Airlines was perhaps the first airline to create an network of affiliated regional airlines, the Allegheny Commuter System. Contributing to Allegheny’s growth were the acquisitions of regional carriers Lake Central Airlines in 1968 and Mohawk Airlines in 1972.

Allegheny Airlines DC-9 at the gate Cleveland Hopkins in 1973. Photo: TRS299 – OPShots.net

Mohawk added British Aircraft Corp. BAC One-Eleven twinjets to the fleet; Allegheny then bought more used One-Elevens.Allegheny added other jets, notably the Douglas DC-9-30 which the company named the “Vistajet”. Other jets included Boeing 727-100s and 727-200s and the Douglas DC-9-50, a stretched DC-9-30.

The Allegheny Airlines Fleet:

Douglas DC-3 24 — 1953-1966
Martin 202 5 — 1959-1963
Convair 340 17 — 1960-1967
Douglas DC-3 11 — 1948-1962
Convair 440 27 — 1962-1974
Convair 580 40 — 1965-1978
Fairchild F-27/Fairchild-Hiller FH-227 27 — 1965-1974
Nord 262 13 — 1968-1977
Mohawk 298 9 — 1975-1979
Douglas DC-9-14 1 — 1965-1966
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 70 — 1966-1979
Boeing 727-100 11 — 1978-1979
Boeing 727-200 2 — 1970-1971
BAC One-Eleven 31 — 1972-1979
As deregulation dawned, Allegheny—looking to shed its regional image—changed its name to USAir on October 28, 1979

About the author

Mark Plumley

I have always looked to the sky at the wonderful aluminum tubes darting through the sky. My love for aviation has taken me to many airports and air shows and I hope to be able to experience many more in the years to come and to share my experience along the way.

2 comments

  1. masseybrown

    Nice piece. One of my first flights was on Lake Central, which was acquired by Allegheny. The flight was a now-ridiculous CLE-CAK-YNG-PIT and took almost two hours in a Nord 262.

  2. RampBoss

    Thanks for posting an article on Allegheny! Brings back lots of memories.

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