The mid-1980s was a time of significant growth for America West and only three years after starting operations they took on 6 nearly new 757-2S7s which had been delivered to Republic Airlines just prior to its takeover by Northwest. Of the fifteen Boeing 757s that would join America West only three would join them directly and be 757-2G7s. The other twelve were either ex-Republic 2S7s (6), ex-Eastern 225s (4), an ex-Odyssey Int 28A or an AWAS leased series 23A. Two other 757-2G7s ordered new from Boeing were cancelled following the carrier's bankruptcy in the early 90s and not built. Though it only had a relatively small fleet of 757s America West made sure that many of them caught the eye, as in the 1990s it began painting 8 of them into special liveries.
America West 757 special schemes fell into three categories:
The breakdown of the 757s was as follows. Note that two aircraft wore the Arizona scheme. The two non-standard 757s, N911AW and N916AW, had shorter careers with America West than the others:
US States Special Schemes
America West - Boeing 757-225 - Nevada State
MSN / LN 22209 / 40
Delivery Date 15/12/94
Transfer Date 30/04/07
America West added further to its initial six ex-Republic 757s in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Four of these aircraft were early build frames taken over following the failure of Eastern Airlines. N915AW started life as N519EA on 21st November 1984. Before service with AWA she went to Birgenair in March 1992 as TC-GUL but was returned in December 1993 to Boeing as N747BJ before delivery to AWA. She was delivered in Nevada State special colours and served her entire Cactus career wearing this scheme. Transferred to the combined US / AWA fleet in 2007 she was repainted in the US Airways post-merger scheme. As one of the older 757s in the fleet she was retired in February 2009, returned to her lessor GECAS and sent for scrapping.
America West - Boeing 757-2S7 - Arizona State
MSN / LN 23321 / 76
Delivery Date 06/87
Transfer Date 29/10/07
N601RC was delivered new to Republic on 19th December 1985 and merged into Northwest’s fleet in October 1986. She became N901AW in November 1987 five months after delivery to AWA. N901AW was actually the second 757 to take up the colours of Arizona after N916AW was returned to her lessor in the late 90s. It continued to wear this scheme until November 2007 by which time AWA had been merged into US Airways. The frame is now part of the American Airlines fleet following the US/AA merger.
America West - Boeing 757-2S7 - Ohio State
MSN / LN 23567 / 97
Delivery Date 11/05/87
Transfer Date 25/10/06
Republic’s last three new 757s were delivered straight into a hybrid Northwest scheme due to the forthcoming merger of the two airlines. This show of loyalty didn’t stop her sale to AWA, only a year after her initial 19th May 1986 delivery, and she was reregistered as N905AW in September 1987. During the mid-90s America West began to operate a hub from Columbus Ohio and this aircraft was chosen in October 1995 to wear the Ohio state colours. It continued to wear this scheme until October 2006 when it was repainted into the new US Airways post-merger scheme. The frame is now part of the American Airlines fleet following the US/AA merger in late 2013.
In Part 2 we'll look at the other special schemes.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: