Despite a slow start to sales in the early 1970s, the Metro series has become one of the most popular 19 seat commuters.
The Metro can trace its lineage back to the original Swearingen Merlin I executive transport. From the Merlin I Swearingen developed the turboprop powered II and III which were to form the basis of the new Metro commuter airliner. The Metro was Swearingen's first complete in-house design and development work began in the late 1960s, resulting in the SA226TC Metro's first flight on August 26 1969. The design was similar in appearance and layout to the earlier Merlins, and featured a pressurized fuselage.
The Metro II superseded the Metro I from 1975, with improvements to reduce cabin noise levels. The equivalent executive aircraft is the Merlin IV. Following the Metro II from 1981 was the III (by which time Fairchild had taken over Swearingen), which was certificated to SFAR41B allowing greater takeoff weights, while more efficient engines and greater wing span made the III more economical to operate. The Expediter freighter is based on the III