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Eastern Renewal

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The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is reviewing an application for a new Eastern Air Lines to begin service. Eastern Air Lines Group CEO Ed Wegel plans to start charter service in December, pending DOT and FAA approval.  The first aircraft for the new airline will be an Airbus A320, scheduled for delivery in August or September, according to Wegel. The plans are for scheduled services, eventually.

Interestingly, Wegel’s group bought the Eastern name and logo out of bankruptcy court in 2009. It will run charter operations out of the former Eastern Air Lines headquarters in Miami.

The original Eastern Air Lines went out of business in January 1991. Eastern is one of the many defunct American legacy carriers, but its death was particularly painful. The photo above is the Eastern Air Lines obituary that ATW published in its March 1991 issue. Of the airline’s demise, the article states, “The Eastern that died in January, having been torn apart by years and years of labor-management strife and stripped piece by piece of its heritage in a vain effort to keep flying, is not the Eastern that anyone would wish to memorialize.”

But it made a large impact in its 65 year history on the US airline industry, from its single-engine Pitcairn Mailwing beginnings to the world famous Eastern Shuttle and the launch of many new aircraft types.

The death knell came with Frank Lorenzo’s battle with unions.

We wish the new Eastern well should it gain approval. Wearing the Eastern logo will require a lot of gumption.

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