Eastern Airlines was one of America’s leading original legacy carrier’s that left in an untimely demise going into its 65th year in operation during Jan 1991. This was my original airline employer when I first began my aviation career. It was a sad time for many of us to see this historical airline disappear. It had made a brief retro comeback as a Charter Airline a few years back. This will now be the third time around the block for this once historic and iconic brand. We are hoping that ‘Third time’s a Charm‘ with their latest reincarnation. The airline will relaunch with its first international route as being JFK New York to Guayaquil Ecuador. This launch will take place sometime during the 4th quarter of this year with a mixed fleet of 55 Boeing 767s and 777s. The timeline is based upon the DOT approval process for their first approved route. We will all be waiting and watching with bated breath for the return of “The Wings of Man” and “The Great Silver Fleet.” It will be coming to an airport near you in the months ahead. Here are some initial details of what has been reported so far:
The new Eastern will initially fly from JFK to select destinations in Peru, Ecuador, and Guyana—all of which are currently unserved by other carriers. The Eastern Air Lines brand seems to be far from gone and forgotten. The iconic and historic airline name will—pending on DOT approval—take off on point-to-point missions to the Caribbean, South America, and even Asia. The new, new Eastern (now incorporated under Eastern Airlines, LLC), emerged from Dynamic International Airways in 2018, which held all the intellectual rights over the iconic airline name, inherited from sister charter company, Swift Air. Eastern has focused on charter services to a myriad of operators scattered throughout North America and Europe with its fleet of eight Boeing 767-200/300 aircraft. All the latest information on the third rebirth of Eastern Airlines—the carrier is expected to launch services with a fleet of Boeing 767-300 and 777-200 aircraft. In 2018, Eastern Airlines applied for nonstop flights to Guayaquil (GYE), Georgetown (GEO), Anchorage (ANC), and Jinan (TNA), in China, from its proposed hub at New York (JFK).
“The airline’s initial routes to South America are presumed to launch during the fourth quarter of the present year, whereas the service to China will open up once the first 777 aircraft arrives in 2020. The new website, which will go live at goeasternair.com, is reportedly designed around an all-new logo, which, according to Harfst, is inspired by “Eastern’s rich and iconic history” together with its “future being an ‘Explorer’ brand.”
The logo is modeled after topographical maps of the destinations the carrier intends to serve. “The primary US gateway to South America is in Miami, not New York,” Harteveldt notes. “Los Angeles and New York are the two largest gateways between the US and China, but Miami is number-one when it comes to Latin America. The triangular routes, such as a potential Miami – Lima – Cuzco, would be a perfect example where legacy carriers wouldn’t dare to compete. Ed Wegel, a popular leader among many of the airline’s current employees and those of the original Eastern, was responsible for bringing the Eastern name back to the skies. Wegel was the driving force behind the airline’s relaunch since the dark days of the 2008-09 recession when the planning began. (airwaysmag)
Eastern’s Long History
Eastern was a major US airline from 1926 to 1991.
Then in 2015 the airline relaunched (or more accurately, rights to the name were purchased), as the airline started flying 737s to the Caribbean, including Cuba. Less than two years later their air operator certificate was taken away, and they went out of business. In April 2018, Dynamic International Airways acquired the Eastern name, and have now branded themselves as Eastern.
Eastern’s International Expansion Plans
Rather than focusing on charter flights. Eastern is now planning scheduled international flights. A couple of weeks ago the airline filed with the US DOT to request permission to operate daily nonstop flights between New York and Guayaquil as of May 1, 2019. Eastern wants to launch 2x weekly flights from New York to Anchorage to Jinan, China. They want the right to sell the domestic flight as well, so that passengers could travel exclusively between New York and Anchorage.
DOT Filing: “Jinan is the capital of Shandong Province with a population of approximately 7 million – almost twice the population of Los Angeles. It currently has no non-stop service to the US. There are currently no non-stop flights from Anchorage, Alaska to New York City JFK. These flights will open up new markets to both foreign and domestic travelers. We understand there is substantial Chinese tourism interest in Alaska.” (onemileatatime)
Link: Eastern Commercial
Link: Eastern 60s 70s 80s
Link: Disney If You Had Wings
Aviation Travel Writer: The Flight Times Blog