Empire Airlines started as a local service carrier in the 70's with props, based, as noted, at UCA. After deregulation they acquired F-28's and gradually built a hub at SYR
using those and Fairchild Metroliners. Piedmont bought Empire and merged Empire into themselves in May 1986. USAir bought Piedmont in 1987 and integrated Piedmont into themselves in August 1989. The tear-down of the SYR
hub happened in the early 1990's. They probably waited out the expiration of the consent decree with the New York attorney general's office regarding keeping a certain level of air service in Upstate NY after the merger (Atty General Abrams had threatened to sue US/ PI
to stop the merger on antitrust grounds).
Syracuse Hancock's main terminal was built in 1961. It had two one-level concourses that by the early 80's were about eight gates apiece. In the late 70's the southern concourse had a second-floor addition built. Empire shared that concourse with American, People Express, Eastern, and Republic. A second-floor addition to the northern concourse was opened in summer 1985 (I visited it when it was open but carpet was still being laid down), to which American and People Express moved. In late '86 or early '87 an extension of about eight gates was added to the south concourse, which Piedmont used. So from summer 1985, Empire/Piedmont had all but the two RC
gates of the south concourse, and the extension after it was opened. Since USAir gutted the hub in the early 90's the south concourse has been very underused.
From Piedmont's November 1, 1986 schedule:
Syracuse, New York: 66 weekday departures
3 737's, 51 F-28's, 12 commuter prop flights.
Albany 3x commuter
Baltimore 5x (1x 732 2x F28 2x 733)
Binghamton 2x commuter
Boston 4x F28
Buffalo 4x F28
Burlington 2x F28
Cleveland 2x F28
Elmira 3x F28
Hartford 3x F28
Ithaca 3x F28
Islip 2x F28
Montreal 4x F28
Newark 3x F28
LaGuardia 4x F28
Ogdensburg 1x commuter
Ottawa 3x F28
Rochester 5x (3x F28, 2x commuter)
Utica 3x F28
Washington National 3x F28
Watertown 3x commuter
Scraton-Wilkes Barre 1x commuter
3 75-seat jets daily on ITH
, to SYR
as a hub! A very different time.
Hope this all helps.
[Edited 2007-08-03 03:56:18]
[Edited 2007-08-03 04:09:17]