PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s the end of the runway for US Airways, as its merger with American Airlines nears completion.
But its final flight skipped Pittsburgh on Friday, the place of the airline’s birth.
Nevertheless, hundreds of current and former employees came together to mark the occasion. It felt like a family reunion.
“It’s such a heartbreaker,” said Judith Schmidt Cobath, a former flight attendant union negotiator. “I started in 1959 with Allegheny Airlines in Cleveland and then to go through all these years. Now for it to be over. Heartbreaking.”
“It is a big family,” said Sarah Fischer, who organized the event. “We’ve been through a lot of hard times, two bankruptcies, mergers.”
Doreen Welsh retired from US Airways after the “Miracle on the Hudson.” She was one of the flight attendants on the plane that landed on the river.
“Everyone in here has made US Air what it is, what it was,” said Welsh. “It’s just turning into a different name, but it’s very sad to lose the name.”
Former Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey is among those who view US Airways not stopping in Pittsburgh on the final flight as the final insult.
At one point, US Airways employed 12,000 people here. But eventually Pittsburgh lost its hub status, and the airline slashed thousands of jobs.