Hughes Air West Pilot Hat Badge 1st Issue
Las Vegas, NV 1968-1979
On April 17, 1968 three "local service" air carriers in the western U.S. merged to form the airline named Air West. Pacific Air Lines, originally known as Southwest Airways, Bonanza Air Lines and West Coast Airlines. Hungry for another adventure in the airline industry TWA's former owner Howard Hughes sought Air West in 1968, and the deal was finalized in 1970. It was then renamed Hughes Airwest. Like other U.S. local service carriers in the 1970s, Hughes Airwest gradually eliminated many of the smaller communities served and opened new, longer-haul routes. During 1979, several airlines publicly showed interest in buying Hughes Airwest. It was finally bought by Republic Airlines and the sale was finalized in July 1979. Republic was acquired by Northwest Airlines in 1986 which was then merged into Delta Air Lines in 2010.