21 Facts About Western Airlines


Western Airlines was a major airline based in California, operating in the western United States including Alaska and Hawaii, and western Canada, as well as to New York City, Boston, Washington, D C, and Miami and to Mexico, London and Nassau.

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Western Airlines had hubs at Los Angeles International Airport, Salt Lake City International Airport, and the former Stapleton International Airport in Denver.

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Western Airlines first incorporated in 1925 as Western Air Express by Harris Hanshue.

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Western Airlines Air Express built and owned Vail Airport, Montebello from 1926 to 1930 and the Alhambra Airport from 1930 to 1931.

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Western Airlines Air Express operated a seaplane route out of Hamilton Cove Seaplane Base on Catalina Island, California from 1928 to 1930.

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In 1934 Western Airlines Air Express was severed from TWA and changed its name to General Air Lines, returning to the name Western Airlines Air Express after several months.

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In 1937 Western Airlines merged National Parks Airways, which extended its route north from Salt Lake to Great Falls, and, in 1941, across the border to Lethbridge, Alberta.

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In 1946, Western Airlines was awarded a route from Los Angeles to Denver via Las Vegas, but in 1947 financial problems forced Western Airlines to sell the route, and Douglas DC-6 delivery positions, to United Air Lines.

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In 1947 Western Airlines extended the left arm of the W north to Seattle, and added San Diego to Yuma for a few years; in 1950 it extended the middle of the W north to Edmonton.

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In June 1960, Western Airlines introduced Boeing 707s between Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.

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In 1967 WAL acquired Pacific Northern Western Airlines based in Anchorage, Alaska, its main route being Anchorage-Seattle, which PNA served nonstop with Boeing 720s.

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Western Airlines added Vancouver in 1967, and in 1969 it started flights from several California airports to Hawaii.

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In 1969, Western Airlines opened negotiations to merge with American Airlines.

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In spring 1987, shortly before Western Airlines was acquired by Delta Air Lines, the airline had two hubs, a major operation in Salt Lake City and a small hub in Los Angeles.

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At its peak in the 1970s and 1980s, Western Airlines flew to cities across the western United States, and to Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada .

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In 1986, Western entered into a code sharing agreement with SkyWest Airlines, a commuter airline.

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All of Western Airlines's aircraft were repainted in Delta's livery, including ten McDonnell Douglas DC-10s.

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Western Airlines was famous for its "Flying W" corporate identity and aircraft livery.

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Western Airlines was a favorite first class carrier for Hollywood movie stars and frequently featured them in their on board magazine, "Western's World".

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Western Airlines had a famous flyer out of Seattle: Captain "Red" Dodge.

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Western Airlines used a variety of piston-powered airliners including Boeing 247Ds, Convair 240s, Douglas DC-3s, DC-4s, DC-6Bs and L-749 Constellations.

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