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Piedmont Airlines
Milestones in History
Jul 2, 1940 Piedmont Aviation incorporated in North Carolina as an aircraft sales and service business
Jul 1, 1941 Civil Aeronautics Board approves Piedmont Aviation as the only federally licensed repair and overhaul facility between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.
Jun 6, 1944 Piedmont Aviation applies to the CAB to conduct scheduled local service to cities in the Southeast.
Apr 4, 1947 The CAB awards Piedmont a Certificate of Public Covenience and Necessity, allowing it to begin scheduled service over four routes. The certificate is placed on hold pending an appeal by an unsuccessful applicant that eventually goes to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Dec 12, 1947 The CAB reaffirms its decision to award Piedmont a certificate, clearing the way for the airline to begin operations.
Jan 1, 1948 Piedmont Airlines (PI) formed as a division of Piedmont Aviation.
Feb 20, 1948 PI makes its first scheduled flight between Wilmington, N.C. and Cincinnati, Ohio.
May 14, 1948 PI provides air service along all routes authorized by the CAB.
Feb 6, 1950 The U.S. Supreme Court overturns an Appeals Court decision and upholds the CAB's decision to give a certificate to PI. This ends the legal challenges to PI's right to operate an airline.
Apr 1, 1951 PI publishes first issue of employee paper, the Piedmonitor.
May 26, 1952 The CAB renews PI's certificate for seven years in "special recognition" of its outstanding service.
Feb 26, 1954 PI carries its millionth passenger since it began scheduled service. It is the first local-service airline to carry a million passengers.
Dec 1, 1954 Construction begins on PI's new office building and hangar across from Winston-Salem's Smith Reynolds Airport. The complex is completed in February 1956.
Jun 1, 1955 PI carries first class mail for the first time.
Dec 6, 1955 CAB awards PI a permanent certificate.
Nov 8, 1957 PI files a route application with the CAB which includes service to ATL and DCA. If approved, the new service would add 2,952 route miles and 10 new cities and nearly double the system. Approval comes almost five years later on March 20, 1962.
Nov 14, 1958 Regular service with the F-27 begins between Cincinnati and Wilmington.
Feb 1, 1961 The company applies for authority to provide helicopter service between Washington Dulles International Airport, and Baltimore, but service never materializes.
Dec 4, 1961 PI agrees to buy 17 44-passenger Martin 404 aircraft from TWA for $3.25 million. First 404 service begins January 15, 1962.
Feb 20, 1962 PI retires the last of its DC-3 aircraft on the 15th anniversary of its first scheduled flight.
Mar 6, 1962 CAB authorizes multiple new routes in nine states plus Washington, D.C., expanding PI's system by 50 percent. New service ties PI's system to Baltimore and Atlanta.
Jun 1, 1962 First PI stewardess training class held in Winston-Salem.
Jan 6, 1963 PI and Allegheny Airlines (predecessor to USAir) offer a joint fare, the lowest air fare ever offered in the world by scheduled carriers. For $99, a foreign passenger may buy a ticket permitting unlimited travel for 30 days over the airlines' routes. The fare is the first joint tariff ever offered by any local service carriers.
Dec 17, 1963 A PI F-27 becomes the first commercial aircraft to land on a new landing strip near the Wright Brothers Monument at Kitty Hawk, N.C., marking the 60th anniversary of powered flight.
Oct 21, 1964 PI's Board of Directors authorizes a cash dividend of 10 cents per share on the company's common stock. It is the first cash dividend to be paid by any publicly-owned local service airline.
Oct 31, 1964 For the first time in PI's history, the airline boards 100,000 passengers in a single month.
Dec 4, 1964 PI achieves its goal of carrying one million passengers in a year. It ends the year having carried 1,078,028 passengers. In October that year it had exceeded 100,000 passengers in a month for the first time, having carried 100,824 passeners.
Jan 20, 1966 PI orders six 90-passenger Boeing 737 jets with an option for six more, the largest such order placed by a local-service airline. Delivery begins in April 1968.
Apr 20, 1966 PI orders 10 44-passenger Fairchild-Hiller-227B prop-jets to replace the aging F-27. Delivery begins in November 1966.
Sep 30, 1966 CAB authorizes PI to begin service to New York City and new service to Washington, D.C. at Dulles International Airport.
Nov 1, 1966 PI opens the Piedmont Aerospace Institute to train aircraft mechanics and technicians. It remains open through December 1984.
Mar 15, 1967 PI leases two Boeing 727 jet airliners to use pending delivery of B-737s.
Mar 15, 1967 The FH-227B is put into service.
Apr 1, 1967 PI breaks ground for new $8 million home office and maintenance facility at Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem. Building is occupied in August 1968.
Oct 18, 1967 PI board authorizes purchase of 21 Nihon YS-11 jets to replace aging Martin 404s. Delivery begins in May 1968.
Apr 9, 1968 PI's first Boeing 737, the PI Pacemaker, sets new speed record for twin-jet transports during delivery flight, flying 2,501 miles from Seattle to Wilmington in four hours and 47 minutes.
May 16, 1968 PI takes delivery of first YS-11. The Cherry Blossom Pacemaker is put into service on May 19.
Aug 1, 1968 Regular service with the B-737 begins.
Oct 25, 1968 New headquarters building on North Liberty Street in Winston-Salem is dedicated.
Dec 1, 1969 PI begins service to Chicago.
Feb 15, 1970 Last of the Martin 404s is replaced with YS-11. PI now operates a fleet powered only by jet turbines.
May 8, 1971 PI opens new Central Reservations Office in Winston-Salem with computerized reservation system.
Oct 25, 1975 Last FH-227 makes its final flight.
Dec 31, 1977 PI exceeds four million passengers for the year. The final tally is 4,167,954 passengers.
Sep 25, 1978 PI stock listed for trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Apr 1, 1980 PI opens a second reservations office, in Nashville, Tenn.
Mar 25, 1981 PI announces order for eight more 737s with options for 20 more, to begin delivery in 1982. Order will make PI's 737 fleet the largest in the world.
May 6, 1981 Tom Davis steps down as president and takes new role as chairman and CEO; Executive Vice President William R. Howard is named president.
Jun 8, 1981 PI opens third reservations center, in Orlando, Fla.
Aug 3, 1981 PI opens the Thomas H. Davis Training Center in Winston-Salem for training pilots, flight attendants, avionics technicians, station agents and dispatchers.
Dec 11, 1981 Norfolk & Western Railway becomes the largest holder of PI stock with purchase of approximately 20 percent of PI's outstanding shares.
Jan 1, 1982 PI sponsors NASCAR race team of Richard Childress, making it the first airline to sponsor a NASCAR.
Mar 14, 1982 YS-11 service ends with retirement of the Shenandoah Valley Pacemaker. For the first time, no aircraft in PI's fleet uses propellers.
Mar 29, 1982 PI opens fourth reservations center, in Reston, Va.
May 1, 1982 PI opens Presidential Suites at 18 locations on its route system.
May 2, 1982 PI pioneers the modern hub system with opening of new $64 million terminal in Charlotte, N.C.
Jul 1, 1982 PI opens hub in Dayton, Ohio. Hub soon defies analysts' predictions and exceeds traffic projections.
Jul 2, 1982 Flight 328, a B737-200 traveling from Norfolk to Newark, is flown by an all-female crew, a first for PI and the airline industy. In the cockpit are Captain Cheryl Peters and First Officer Becky Rose; and flight attendants include Paula Lanier, Dolly Wenat, and Cindy Perry.
May 4, 1983 PI founder Tom Davis retires as chairman and CEO. Piedmont President William R. Howard is named CEO.
May 8, 1983 PI opens $11.5 million maintenance facility at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, NC.
Jul 15, 1983 PI begins operations at third hub, in Baltimore, Md.
Jul 29, 1983 PI receives approval to acquire Henson Aviation, Inc. as a subsidiary. Henson begins operations as a PI regional airline on October 30, 1983.
Dec 31, 1983 PI ends 1983 as the 10th largest airline in the United States, and the 17th largest in the world, with 11.7 million passengers in 1983.
Apr 1, 1984 PI begins West Coast service with daily flights to Los Angeles from Charlotte and Dayton. With Los Angeles service, PI offers first-class service for the first time.
Apr 1, 1984 Fokker F-28 joins PI's fleet.
Nov 1, 1984 PI introduces its Frequent Flyer Bonus Program.
Nov 15, 1984 PI joins the ranks of the major airlines with annual sales in excess of $1 billion.
Jan 1, 1985 Air Transport World magazine awards PI its prestigious "Airline of the Year" award for 1984.
Mar 1, 1985 PI opens a fifth reservations center, in Dayton, Ohio.
Apr 19, 1985 PI takes delivery of its first Boeing 737-300, a significant improvement over the 737-200 models. The B-737-300 begins service on May 1.
May 1, 1985 PI signs agreement with Sunbird Airlines, making it the first commuter carrier tied into PI's reservation and route system.
May 1, 1985 First B737-300 enters service.
Sep 14, 1985 PI's computer reservations system, the CAREsystem, opens in Winston-Salem.
Oct 1, 1985 PI begins Florida Shuttle service with 68 daily intrastate flights serving 10 locations.
Oct 1, 1985 PI opens F-28 Training Center in Tampa, Fla.
Oct 2, 1985 PI announces merger agreement with Empire Airlines based in Utica, N.Y.; the acquisition is completed May 1, 1986.
Nov 1, 1985 Britt Airways and Jetstream International join the PI commuter system.
Nov 1, 1985 PI Flight 481 makes history as the first commercial aircraft to fly with a windshear detection/alert system.
May 1, 1986 PI opens fourth hub, in Syracuse, N.Y., and begins service to 11 locations previously on Empire's route system. Locations include Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, making PI an international carrier.
May 30, 1986 PI boards two million passengers in a single month. Only five other carriers have ever achieved this milestone.
Jun 4, 1986 For the first time, PI is the launch customer for a new airliner with announcement of an order for 25 Boeing 737-400s.
Jan 12, 1987 PI purchases its corporate headquarters building, One Piedmont Plaza, and adjacent building, Two Piedmont Plaza; and announces plans to lease both a new three-story addition to its computer reservations center and a new office building next to its Winston-Salem reservations center.
Mar 6, 1987 PI and USAir, the last of the original local service airlines still in operation, reach agreement to merge. Agreement is announced the following Monday, March 9, 1987.
Apr 23, 1987 PI receives approval to begin trans-Atlantic service to London. Service is inaugurated June 15.
May 1, 1987 London reservations office opens.
Jun 15, 1987 PI makes its first trans-Atlantic flight from Charlotte to London.
Aug 13, 1987 William R. McGee, one of PI's original employees, is named president and CEO upon resignation of William R. Howard.
Oct 30, 1987 U.S. Transportation Department approves Piedmont-USAir merger. PI becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of USAir Group on November 5.
Feb 20, 1988 PI celebrates 40 years of scheduled airline service.
Jun 24, 1988 Tom Schick is named president and chief operating officer upon William R. McGee's resignation.
Sep 6, 1988 PI opens new 80,000 square-foot Flight Training Center, including the world's first B-737-300/400 training simulator, at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.
Sep 15, 1988 PI takes delivery of world's first Boeing 737-400. The airplane is christened the Thomas H. Davis Pacemaker in honor of PI founder Tom Davis; other B-737-400s will not be named.
Aug 4, 1989 PI operates its last flights. Operations continue the next day as USAir.
Aug 5, 1989 PI and USAIR merge.
Source: PIEDMONT: Flight of the Pacemaker © All Rights Reserved