Eastern Air Lines is One Step Closer to Returning to the Skies
E astern Air Lines is one step closer to returning to the skies after an absence of approximately 24 years, as Eastern Air Lines Group, Incorporated reported earlier this week that its operating subsidiary, Eastern Air Lines, has received an Air Carrier Operating Certificate and “Part 121” operations specifications — which authorize passenger charters with large aircraft — from the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States in a short ceremony on Wednesday, May 13, 2015.
The ceremony was held at the headquarters of Eastern Air Lines in Building 5A at Miami International Airport, which served as the Operation Center for Eastern Air Lines from 1965 through 1991.
In a brief article I posted here at The Gate back on Saturday, March 7, 2009, I wrote the following:
Eastern Air Lines — which went out of business in 1991 — was once one of the four largest airlines in the United States. Currently in the midst of the worst worldwide economy in years where it is difficult enough to maintain the operations of a commercial airline, what would possess someone with the idea of re-launching a once-storied commercial airline?
This comeback for Eastern Air Lines has taken at least six years — and it appears that the efforts are finally going to pay off.
A recent announcement indicated that Eastern Air Lines will offer charter flights for war veterans of the United States between Miami International Airport and Washington National Airport on Saturday, May 30, 2015 using its sole Boeing 737-800 aircraft known as The Spirit of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker — named after the co-founder and first chief executive officer of the original Eastern Air Lines — which arrived from Shannon in Ireland via Portsmouth, New Hampshire into Miami International Airport at 3:13 in the afternoon Eastern Standard Time on Runway 8R to a water cannon salute on Friday, December 19, 2014.
American Airlines current operates the air shuttle service pioneered by Eastern Air Lines in 1961 between New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.; and for a few years, it was known as the Trump Shuttle.
An announcement from Eastern Air Lines pertaining to its initial charter operations is expected in the coming weeks; and Eastern Air Lines has recently concluded deals for ten additional Boeing 737-800 airplanes.
My first flight was on an airplane operated by American Airlines; but I have flown as a passenger on Eastern Air Lines during my early days of travel. I experienced a delay of greater than five hours on my first flight on Eastern Air Lines from New York to Miami; but a few years later, I would receive surprise upgrades to its premium class cabin on domestic flights as a member of the OnePass frequent flier loyalty program which Eastern Air Lines and Continental Airlines shared before I earned top tier elite level status at that time.
Eastern Air Lines had built a “mini-hub” of sorts in Atlanta prior to its dissolution in 1991, when I was still based in the New York metropolitan area. I was really starting to like being a passenger on that airline; so you can imagine my disappointment when the airline was no longer in operation.
Could Eastern Air Lines eventually return to the point where it will be a viable competitor to the other domestic airlines currently operating in the United States — or will it wind up with a fate similar to the attempted return of other airlines such as PEOPLExpress or Pan Am?
Source of image: Eastern Air Lines.