J. Floyd Andrews; One of PSA’s Founders
J. Floyd Andrews, a World War II pilot who became a founder of Pacific Southwest Airlines, once one of the nation’s most successful commuter airlines, has died, associates said Wednesday. He was 69.
Andrews, former president and board chairman of PSA, died Tuesday at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego where he was being treated for cancer.
“He epitomizes everything PSA stood for--hard work, tradition and family,” Don Simonian, who was a special assistant to Andrews during his 20-year career at the airline, told the Associated Press.
PSA was taken over by USAir in 1986 in a $400-million transaction. Andrews had left PSA in 1976 at a time when the airline was in serious financial trouble stemming from increased fuel costs. The resulting fare increases led to a decline in revenues.
“Andy was a genius and it was his leadership that took PSA to the top in the late ‘60s,” said Bill Hastings, chief spokesman for PSA until USAir completed its absorption of the smaller airline last year.
Since retiring, Andrews had lived with his wife, Mary, in San Diego’s Pacific Beach area.
He served with the British Royal Air Force during World War II and later with the Army Air Corps when the United States entered the war.
Andrews helped launch PSA in 1949. In the early days, the often flamboyant owner sometimes would take the controls of one of the airline’s DC-3s to fly passengers between San Diego and San Francisco.
Named PSA president in 1962, Andrews tried to instill a family spirit among employees and he insisted that no one address him as “Mr. Andrews.”
“From janitors to the pilots, everyone called him Andy,” Simonian said.
Andrews also was intent on sharpening PSA’s image to attract customers. For a time in the 1960s and early ‘70s, PSA flight attendants were dressed in pink-and-orange hot pants and miniskirts. The airline’s planes also had a distinctive smile painted on their noses.
“Our philosophy was let’s jazz it up,” Andrews said in an interview with the San Diego Tribune last year. “Let’s make them (the passengers) feel good, keep up with the times and give them an opportunity to enjoy a smile and well-turned ankle.”
Andrews also helped institute one of the first frequent-flier programs, offering discount fares or free trips for regular customers.