Airline Profile: Piedmont Airlines

Piedmont Airlines was founded in 1931 when Richard A. Henson began a fixed-base operation as Henson Aviation in Hagerstown, Maryland. More than thirty years later, in 1962, Henson Aviation began scheduled passenger service as the Hagerstown Commuter between Hagerstown and Washington National.


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In 1967, Henson Aviation joined with the former Allegheny Airlines (now US Airways) to form the first “code share” affiliation that now dominates the airline industry. Operating as Allegheny Commuter, Henson Aviation purchased and operated its first turbo-prop aircraft, the Beech 99.

The fleet of Beech 99’s grew, and in 1977 the airline purchased four Shorts 3-30 aircraft. Two years later, the airline purchased the first of its new 50-seat, four-engine deHavilland Dash 7 aircraft. In 1981, Air Transport World named Henson the Regional Airline of the Year.

In 1983 Piedmont Airlines agreed to purchase Henson, and began to operate as The Piedmont Regional Airline. The next year they ordered eight deHavilland Dash 8 aircraft, beginning a trend. Piedmont has become the world’s largest operator of Dash 8s.

Henson Aviation’s affiliation with USAir was reestablished in 1987 when Henson and Piedmont were purchased by USAir Group, Inc. Two years later, Piedmont merged into USAir and began to operate as USAir Express. 

In 1993, Henson was renamed Piedmont Airlines in order to preserve the Piedmont identity within the USAir Group family. In 1997, USAir itself underwent a name change, becoming US Airways. Piedmont and the other Express carriers followed along, now operating as US Airways Express.

Piedmont Airlines is headquartered in Salisbury Maryland. They carry over 3 million passengers a year to 55 destinations in the United States and Canada with a fleet of 55 deHavilland Dash-8 Aircraft.