PanAmerican
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BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 5:07 am

On a July 1993 OAG timetable I found an advertisement on the front page quoting the following:
"Two airlines. One vision. The Global Alliance of USAir and British Airways takes off."

This was obviously before BA thought of hooking up with AA. Does anybody remember why that BA/US partnership never came to work out?
I'd be interested, I don't remember this at all.


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Leskova
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 5:20 am

Not quite sure why it didn't work out, I think it had something to do with US Air's reputation at the time - and with BA not wanting to be associated with them... I do remember that they had a bit of a fight when it came to the financial un-tangling at the end of the alliance...

Didn't they have a 767 painted in US Air colors on one side and BA colors on the other?

And, up to today, I still have some miles flown on BA on my Dividend Miles account...  Big grin
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PanAmerican
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 5:57 am

You're right, Leskova. I just searched for that plane and found out that there were more than one in both US/BA colors:

N652US:

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Photo © Frank Schaefer
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Photo © Paul Morley



N654US:

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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.
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Photo © Torsten Maiwald



N655US:

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Photo © Philippe Noret
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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.



So their alliance must have been more advanced then I thought...
...painting the planes in the partner colors, accepting FF miles from the partner and code sharing is a pretty extensive agreement in my opinion.
Well, anyone else with more information on this?

 Smile/happy/getting dizzyPA
Pan Am - The World's Most Experienced Airline.
 
Guest

RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 6:00 am

US sued BA to break-up the relationship... it wasn't BA who wanted out (first, at least.)

Some say BA's true interest in US was merely purchasing them to get their foot into the US market... similar to KL's initial interest in NW (and yes, there are government-imposed restrictions on this, which is why BA didn't take as large of a stake in US as they wanted to).

[Edited 2003-11-06 22:02:59]
 
usflt1778
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 6:21 am

The 3 aircraft were painted *entirely* in BA colours and operated under a wet-lease agreement on the following services: BWI-LGW, CLT-LGW and PIT-LGW. Crew were all USAir, with the cockpit crew in US uniforms but the cabin crew in BA uniforms. These personnel bid these flights exclusively and attended training with BA in UK to learn BA's service, procedures, etc. Ground handling was also performed by USAir in those 3 stations, again with dedicated staff wearing BA uniforms. Once onboard, the only mention of USAir was a small placard in the forward galley stating "This aircraft is owned and operated by USAir."

I recall the inaugural flight into LGW was a bit confusing, as BA only operated 767-300's and the USAir 767-200 had some troubles at the parking stand with the jetbridge meeting up properly. This was also the time of the reconfiguration of all US' 767's into the current biz configuration of 2-2-2. Previously US had a 2-1-2 arrangement (with less pitch) but they modified the entire fleet to offer a consistent "club world" type product. In fact, for a long time the in-seat video control on US was labelled "colour" instead of "color" (the seats having come from BA's stock?!?).

The reasoning for the codeshares at the time was BA's lack of aircraft and the economy of allowing US to fly those routes on their behalf, with significant thru traffic to/from USAir's domestic network.

From time to time those aircraft would cycle back into US mainline flying for a day or two after maintenance, and I remember flying non-rev on a PHL-MCO flight in full BA colours. I flew down and came right back; just wanted to say that I'd flown on it.

I can't fully recall the reason for the break up in the end, other than each side didn't really gain what they were hoping for from the relationship. As stated by IndustrialPate, BA was looking for an "in" to the US market, and USAir needed the cash. I seem to recall the final straw being US' failure to meet certain financial goals and BA holding back a payment of $400 million (but don't quote me on that one).
 
potomac
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 6:26 am

didnt this agreement drive the switch from "us air" to "us airways"?
 
Capital146
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 6:34 am

USflt778 has pretty much summed up the story.
The former Piedmont route of CLT-LGW, and PIT-LGW saw US Airways 762's in BA colours. In fact when the alliance broke, BA decided to operate its own CLT-LGW service in competition with US!
CLT-LGW surprised everyone with how well it developed in the late '80's with Piedmont and into the early '90's with US Airways. I suppose BA wanted a part of that.
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rockyracoon
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 6:38 am

BA used to have daily 747 service to PIT. I used to go out an see the plane with my dad when I was litte, don't rememer if it was LGW or LHR, I think it was a 200 series 747 though. This flight was laster downgraded to daily 767 service., until it ceased to exist.

Tim
 
TWFirst
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 6:45 am

As I recall, the alliance broke up because American expressed interest in hooking up with BA, and BA saw the value of a marriage with the top dog (or second dog at the time) of the U.S. market. USAir was pissed because it wanted to have an exclusive relationship with BA.
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ouboy79
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 7:04 am

It was a mix of BA/AA, but also US getting the short end of the stick in the deal. BA was making several hundreds of millions of dollars, when US only made between $50-100 million...give or take.

At the peak, BA owned ~25% of USAir and had option to purchase up to 49%.
 
PVD757
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 7:19 am

What I remember was that BA had a habit of trying to help micro-manage the little things at US Airways. US Airways got tired of being told how to do things "better" and decided to end the relationship. This was decided mutually because BA thought that AA would provide a more powerful ally across the Atlantic anyways. I couldn't remember why US was pursued in the first place, I just remember hearing about the breakup.
 
Cody
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 7:28 am

A good friend of mine is a retired US AIRWAYS 767 Captain, and he told me that on the BA/US shared flights, the US AIRWAYS pilots actually used the "Speedbird" calls sign while operating the USAir 767's painted with BA colors........or colours.
 
SHUPirate1
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 7:33 am

If I'm not mistaken, didn't AA and US have a mileage agreement for a while?
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rthrbeflying86
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 9:58 am

Yes, there was an AA/US relationship for a short while, and they let you combine miles from each program to redeem an award. All you needed was at least 1000 miles from the operating airline (or 1000 from both for interline travel) and the difference from the other.

There were even rumors of a takeover, (not unlike US/UA negotiations) but they obviously fell through. I'm pretty sure this all happened before the AA/TW takeover.
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mats
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:00 am

I remember flying in the United/British Airways alliance, which preceeded the USAir alliance. This was in the late 80's.

The USAir-BA alliance had some interesting innovations. The unusual wet leased flights were only part of the deal. USAir Express operated the "Concorde Connection:" a Dash-8 "champagne flight" linking Washington/DCA with JFK for Concorde passengers. This was VERY short-lived.

USAir suffered numerous downfalls in the 90's. They had a ridiculous number of aircraft types, the highest costs in the US market, and two noteworthy crashes. As its financial status plummeted, BA began to seek a new partner in the United States.

Although USAir maintained a marketing agreement with Deutsche BA, they discontinued their relationship with BA itself.

USAir's name change and switch to a predominately Airbus fleet took place after the BA relationship ended. This all took place when Stephen Wolf came from United to USAir.
 
redngold
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:04 am

This alliance was going well before 1990, because my family flew JFK-MAN and LHR-JFK on British Airways using USAir frequent flyer miles in 1988. We purchased the tickets in 1987.

redngold
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jeffrey1970
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 11:10 am

RockyRacoon,

I do believe the British Airways flight was from LHR. I remember in the late 80's flying from LHR to IAD on a BA 747. The crew announced that the flight was continuing on to Pittsburgh.

God bless through Jesus,

Jeff
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rockyracoon
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 12:25 pm

ok, thanks for the info jeff

Tim
 
AA767400
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RE: BA/USAir Alliance In Early 1990s

Fri Nov 07, 2003 1:08 pm

I remember seeing a British Airways 762 in Miami, in 1993. I knew it was
part of the BA/US alliance, Which was really cool. I also remember US operating several routes into JFK, to connect onto BA flights there.
"The low fares airline."

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