Potomac Air, New Carrier, Launches in D.C. Area

Potomac Air, a new airline expected eventually to account for a large share of flights at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, takes to the air today.

Potomac Air will be a US Airways Express carrier and its launch was announced today by its parent, US Airways.

United Airlines and US Airways are awaiting approval of federal regulators for their planned merger.

As part of that combination, US Airways proposed to spin off a large share of its Washington operations to a new airline in an effort to ease concerns that the merged airline would dominate at both National and Dulles International airports.

With approval of the merger, Potomac Air would become DC Air and take over the routes to be spun off, US Airways said.

Starting today, the new airline will operate between Washington National and Charleston, W.Va., Greensboro, N.C., and White Plains, N.Y.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that it had approved the new carrier and said federal inspectors would be aboard initial flights.

US Airways said that in the future Potomac is expected to expand service to include Allentown, Pa., Charlotte, N.C., Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., Knoxville, Tenn., Greenbrier/Lewisburg, W.Va., Morgantown, W.Va., Norfolk, Va., Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, as well as to Roanoke, Va., with continuing service to Clarksburg, W.Va., and Richmond, Va.

Potomac Air will fly 37-seat DASH-8 aircraft and has a maintenance and operations base in Roanoke.

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