DALLAS – Today in Aviation, US Airways (US) announced the closure of its low-cost subsidiary MetroJet in 2001. Based at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), the airline was established to compete with the growing number of low-cost rivals encroaching on its operation.
Initially, five Boeing 737-200s were transferred over from its mainline parent. The jets were the oldest in the US fleet and the move allowed the carrier to achieve greater utilization of the type before retirement. A bold new livery was applied, which included a bright red fuselage, a grey belly, and a stylized stars and stripes flag tail logo that matched its parent.
Flights from BWI to Cleveland (CLE), Providence (PVD), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), and Manchester (MHT) took to the skies on June 1, 1998.
In a short time, the carrier’s fleet had swelled to 49 Boeing 737s flying to 25 destinations. Passengers were enamored by the airline’s low fares and the fact they could earn Dividend Miles, US Airways’ loyalty program.
MetroJet was meant to improve its parent’s financial position. However, it actually began to cannibalize US Airways’ operations. Its aging fleet, increasing competition from main rival Southwest Airlines (WN), and the events of 9/11 only exasperated the situation.
As part of its restructuring following the terrorist attacks, US Airways announced it would close down its low-cost subsidiary. MetroJet’s final flight took place in December 2001 and its fleet was retired from service.
Featured image: MetroJet started life with just five Boeing 737-200s. It went on to operate 49 of the type. Photo: By Konstantin von Wedelstaedt – http://www.airliners.net/photo/MetroJet-%28US-Airways%29/Boeing-737-2B7-Adv/0327414/L/, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15210560