Tuesday, December 10, 2013

USAirways Requiem

Here is all I have to say...  after 50 years and what may be the single most concentrated economic development effort in the region's history since the original renaissance, I think Pittsburgh now has less air service than it did before.  I admit I say that without hard data, but if anyone wants to challenge the statement maybe I will go back and compare.

I do have to add I am at a loss as to how to reply to this quote in the paper today: "“US Airways has been more significant to this region than Gulf Oil but never as significant as Westinghouse Electric,” Have we really forgotten our own history that much? At the very least, nobody will be referring to the USAirways building Downtown three decades from now.

Can we all be clear that Boeing is not coming to Pittsburgh. The reasons are too many to list, but not the least of which are some sheer transportation/logistics issues that would keep us off any short list.  Remember when Airbus was shopping around for a US plant?  Not coming here.


Anonymous marketdiamond said...

Now if only some gumshoe reporter would do a retrospective on all things Gulf Oil ala PG's "Who Killed Westinghouse".

I'd really like to know how deep the suspicion was of Harold Hammer's "we'll get rid of Boone Pickens like we got rid of the Mellons" followed by his reaction to learn that Pickens was affording the massive LBO with the backing of non other than Mellon Bank. Seems like it may have just been a chess game on a grand scale as a Mellon family bid to regain control using Chevron as a proxy.

Even more interesting ala Westinghouse was how their arch rival GE actually had a bid in to swallow up Gulf Oil once Pickens got blood in the water, since GE lost Gulf Oil they turned and bought NBC 2 years later setting the standard of how an obsolete dirty industrial can remake itself by buying into major media, something Westinghouse would emulate 9 years later and then take it a notch higher by shedding its Pittsburgh industries and becoming CBS completely.

Well that and how Westinghouse and Gulf almost killed each other a decade earlier (mid 70s) with the infamous cornering of the uranium markets.

I swear this would make such an awesome '24' meets 'White Collar' meets 'Wall Street' TV cliffhanger series!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 4:41:00 PM  
Anonymous marketdiamond said...

As far as Boeing & Airbus I sadly agree however ponder for a moment how the economic/societal/transportation backwaters of early 1960s Atlanta & 1940s-50s Southwest/Los Angeles etc. Seems that those now global industrial and transportation hubs were spurred on by hundreds of billions in federal contracts steered their way, very similar to the Bud Shuster or "Everything in West Virginia is named for Robert Byrd" effect.

Now if only Mike Doyle becomes either Speaker, Majority leader or Chairmen of the Ways & Means for about a decade and a half then this region will soar, we'd have the very largest global concerns falling all over themselves to open up hemispheric headquarters in the area. lol

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 4:55:00 PM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

Re The Requiem for USAirways, I think we've been in an artificial nostalgia-induced reality distortion zone. USAirways really disappeared in 2005.

USAir was clearly the buyer and survivor in the PSA and Piedmont mergers in 1986-87. It remained the same company through the Trump Shuttle acquisition and the MetroJet adventure, and remained the same company into the USAirways renaming.

The 2005 merger with America West was really AmericaWest buying USAirways and moving to the USAirways name. After that, the corporate culture was AWA/Cactus.

There was certainly kicking and screaming as various segments took different timeframes to realize who bought whom, but USAAWKI (USAir as we knew it) went away in 2005.

As often happens, the new New USAirways continued to do business and people in PHL and PIT still saw logos n'at, but it was Frank Lorenzo sleight-of-hand. Cactus had bought USAir. (imo)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 6:45:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Are there actually people who argue it wasn't America West acquiring USAir? USAir went bankrupt, and while the USAir debtholders got a small piece of the reorganized and merged company, a larger piece went to America West equity holders. The HQ was moved to Arizona, and former America West executives and board members controlled the new company.

All that seems definitive to me.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 7:15:00 PM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

Quite a few, and they're mostly located in PA.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 7:20:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Never fear, PeopleExpress will save us.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

and whether Doyle becomes Speaker of the House or not, I'd pay good money to see a widebody wing fit through the Squirrel Hill tunnel.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

you know, people will laugh, but I do believe the North Shore Connector excavation is forward-compatible with the Airbus 380 fuselage profile.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

Just kidding. In fact, I'm kidding as much as the people who say, we've developed a comprehensive proposal for Boeing - because they're never ever going to come to PA, because the Western Pa (ex-USAir) labor philosophy is what they're ostensibly trying to escape.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 11:35:00 PM  
Anonymous marketdiamond said...

@Lt. Briem, true the tunnels and dilapidated bridges are a major obstacle but consider Boston's Big Dig and other "federal" projects (or let's say boondoogles). We just need to graduate a few of our federal pols from slimy to King Rats and see how fast either the Squirrel Hill gets expanded to 8 or 10 lanes or the MLK busway becomes Interstate 876 or both.

@Vannevar, wholly agree that USAir was the one being bought out with the whole AmericaWest thing, really this stopped being tied to Pittsburgh after the Piedmont merger.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous marketdiamond said...

. . . tied to Pittsburgh in the "corporate HQ, critical mass of white collar employees" Westinghouse/Gulf Oil way, even with the largest system hub up until circa 2001, we were still just the outpost with the most gold stars.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 10:19:00 AM  

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