by Michael Lowrey
On August 19, and with it the withdrawal of the 737 from the US Airways fleet. There’s a deep connection between Charlotte and the 737-400, the largest variant of the second-generation of the 737, as the launch customer for it was none other than Piedmont Airlines. So it’s kind of appropriate that the type is being phased out just as US Airways, which bought Piedmont, is merging with American Airlines.
This means that US Airways proper will be an all Airbus airline except for seven old Boeing 767-200ERs, two dozen Boeing 757s, and 20 Embraer E190s. Of those, the only aircraft remaining that flew in Piedmont colors back in the day will soon be just a couple of the 767s.
With the replacement of the last of the 144-seat 737-400s with 187-seat Airbus A321s, the era of easy capacity increases will also come to an end here in Charlotte. Speaking of which, I’ll post the annual CLT baseline of flights and capacity on Thursday. The bottom line is that seats are up on US Airways while flights are flat despite some notable new routes. Through American Airlines into the equation, and flights are actually down this summer compared to last summer.