Wien Air Alaska was formed from a merger with Northern Consolidated Airlines and Wien Alaska Airways. It was famous for being the first airline in Alaska, and one of the first in the United States. It began operations in 1927 in Nome, Alaska. Wien pioneered jet service to gravel runways and developed the B737 Combi configuration which allowed a maximization of freight and passenger loads on the upper deck of jet aircraft. Competitor Alaska became a key user of the 737 Combis and still does today. Wien Air Alaska at one time flew to more places in the world than any other airline excluding Aeroflot. Alaska concentrated on services to Seattle, Portland, and the Panhandle while Wien extensively covered the entire state north of the Panhandle. By the early 1980s their route network extended from Point Barrow and dozens of Alaskan towns all the way down to Phoenix, Oakland, and Denver. Their main bases were in Anchorage and Seattle. Wien, unfortunately, over-expanded to complete with Alaska into the Lower 48, and folded in November, 1984.