'Presidential Airways was an airline with its headquarters on the grounds of Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia. It was founded in 1985 by Harold J. (Hap) Pareti, formerly an officer at Peoplexpress Airlines, as a low-cost carrier, with Boeing 737 service from Dulles to Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts commencing October 10 of that year. It expanded to a number of destinations, merging with the original Colgan Air in 1986 and adding the BAe 146 regional jet and orders for the de Havilland Dash 8-300 turboprop to its fleet (Only two of the DASH-8-300s were ever received). It was unable to sustain its expansion, however, and became a regional feeder for Continental Airlines in 1987 and then United Airlines in 1988. In early 1989, Presidential attempted to capitalize on the "hub fever" then prevalent in the Southeastern United States by trying to raise money from investors in Birmingham, Alabama (BHM) with the stated intent of operating a mini-hub there. Presidential's already shaky financial condition and eventual bankruptcy assured that nothing ever came of it. Burdened with debt from its changes of business plan, Presidential filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 26, 1989. It ended operations on December 5, 1989 and its assets subsequently liquidated. Shortly before that time, employees received a pay cut for two pay periods in an attempt to improve cash flow at the airline. At one point just before its demise, Presidential ran an odd mix of fleet types: twelve BAe Jetstream 31s and 32s (some of which were contracted), two early model BE-1900s, eight BAe 146 jets and an aging Boeing 737. The 737 primarily did roundtrips between Dulles (IAD) and MacArthur-Islip (ISP) on Long Island, New York. In 1988, the 737 was used as the campaign plane for first Republican Senator Robert Dole and then Massachusetts Governor and Democratic nominee for president, Michael Dukakis. Reporters assigned to Dukakis nicknamed the plane "The Sky Pig" because it was so slow. Of these the BE-1900s were the first to go being sold to pay bills. There was also an odd mix of paint schemes. Some BAe 146 jets and Jetstream turboprops were painted in the red white and blue Presidential scheme while others were in United's white with rainbow stripe scheme. The planes contracted from Eastern Metro were in an Eastern Airlines scheme (and flown by Eastern Metro pilots). Read more →
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