Is The Eastern Air Lines Reboot Dead?

by The Unaccompanied Flyer


On May 28th, 2015, a Boeing 737 departed from Miami International Airport to Havana, Cuba.  That flight between Miami and Havana was a charter flight operated by Eastern Air Lines.  The Eastern Air Lines that operated that flight was a reboot of the original Eastern Air Lines that flew from 1926 to 1991.  Airline geeks everywhere rejoiced as the airline operated its first flight.  Though the flight was only a charter flight, many believed that it was a precursor of great things to come for the reboot.


The airline had hoped to begin regularly scheduled passenger flights just months after their first charter flight.  Regularly scheduled passenger flights were anticipated to begin sometime in 2016.  All flights would operate from the airline’s hub in Miami and would be flown using Boeing 737s.  Eastern Air Lines even had a frequent-flyer program ready to launch, LatinOnePass.  However, nearly two years since Eastern’s first flight, the airline’s future is looking bleaker with every passing day.


Eastern Air Lines CEO is having Second Thoughts


Eastern Air Lines CEO, Vincent Viola, reportedly considered selling his share in the company.  Viola was said to have been considering selling his majority share in Eastern Air Lines in favor of a minority share of Swift Air, an American-based charter airline.  The billionaire was, for several weeks, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Army.  However, he recently dropped out of the running citing ethics concerns.


Additionally, according to Dealbreaker, Viola’s companies need him. “The former official said Mr. Viola felt he was unable to sell his interest in some of his holdings because doing so could have destroyed those companies.” When the majority shareholder of an airline considers selling their shares to invest in a competitor (be ethics concerns or something else), that’s typically a red flag.  However, it should be noted that Viola has yet to sell his shares at Eastern.  Though it should also be noted that Eastern Air Lines is just a small piece of Viola’s portfolio.  Viola is worth nearly 2 billion dollars as of December 2016 with business throughout the world.


The Airline Has Yet to Seek Regularly Scheduled Passenger Flights


A big part of what Eastern Air Lines was going for was regularly scheduled passenger service.  Aviation analysts and industry geeks both praised the airline for pacing itself.  The decision to operate as a charter carrier for the first year or so was viewed as a smart decision that would allow the airline to generate revenue and recruit pilots and crew.  However, Eastern was only supposed to operate as a charter airline for twelve to eighteen months.  It’s been nearly 24 months since the airline’s first charter flight and the airline has yet to seek approval to begin scheduled passenger service.  The process in which an airline seeks FAA approval to operate regularly scheduled passenger flights can last for months and is not a minor hurdle.


Eastern Air Lines’ decision not to seek regularly scheduled passenger service could just be a delay or it could a sign of something else.  The airline could very well have ditched plans to operate regularly scheduled passenger service in favor of charter flights.  It could also be the result of financial troubles at the airline.  Unfortunately, little is known about why Eastern has yet to seek approval for passenger flights so any of those three scenarios could be likely.


The MRJ is Delayed, Again


Eastern Air Lines ordered 20 of Mitsubishi’s MRJ90s.  The MRJ90 is expected to accommodate up to 90 passengers and has a range of 1550 nautical miles.  Those twenty MRJs were to compliment the airline’s 17 Boeing 737s.  However, after a fifth delay at Mitsubishi, Eastern Air Lines will likely have to wait until 2021 to receive its first MRJ90. It’s also worth mentioning that the airline experienced a major setback after an incident involving one of its first Boeing 737s in LGA.  The aircraft was damaged and underwent repairs.  The aircraft is back in service, however, after undergoing costly repairs and months of lost service potential.


Private Twitter Account, Terrible Social Media Reach- Eastern Air Lines Twitter Feed (Image: Twitter)


Probably not the best indicator of a failing airline, terrible social media can indicate trouble.  Eastern Air Lines used to manage a public Twitter account, as most airlines do.  However, this is no longer the case.  The airline hasn’t tweeted since September of 2015 and finally made their Twitter account private.  Additionally, the airline doesn’t share any details about flights or operations on either of its two active social media platforms.  On Facebook, the airline is active sharing vintage Eastern Air Lines ads.  What I’m getting at here is that the airline has no intention of allowing passengers or media to easily inquire about operations.  This is another indication that the airline will just continue to operate as a charter carrier.


Overall


A lot of aviation geeks really wanted to see the new Eastern Air Lines work.  The airline and its shareholders had what seemed to be a pretty solid plan for operating a new airline in a very competitive industry I might add.  The new Eastern was to start up flying charter flights and within a year, would start regularly scheduled passenger flights with a fleet of four or so Boeing 737s.  Here we are, two years later and there’s no talk of regularly scheduled passenger service.  To make matters worse, the airline’s CEO doesn’t appear to care that much about this venture.  Now, add the expensive cost to repair a Boeing 737 and another delay of an entire fleet of regional jets.


I’m not saying that Eastern Air Lines is in dire financial trouble.  I have no idea and I don’t feel comfortable jumping to conclusions.  What I am getting at is that it appears the new Eastern Air Lines is comfortable operating as a charter carrier and might not ever operate regularly scheduled flights.

 Sightings/Eastern Air Lines Group


1. April 10, Eastern Airlines at the New Generation Facebook Sighting: Eastern is back in Colombia after 28 years. N278EA (photo below) at the Bogota El Dorado Internatioal Airport on April 10, 2017. Photos: Juan Diaz (not former EAL)  & Jonny Duque.

 

2.  April 11 Rizov shared a link to the group [email protected] shows The Eastern Boeing 737-8SH (WL) N283EA that was apparently delivered to Norwind Airlines on April 4, 2017 as VQ-BDC.

 

3. That same aircraft N283EA s shown as a sighting at MIA, Fl on November 23, 2016 as Eastern’s first brand new Boeing 737BSH that recently arrived at Miami International Airport. Their fleet now consists of five Boeing 737-800 and one Boeing 737-700 aircraft. (Photo by George at MIA)


4. Sighting  April 12 (photo above) from JFK traveling to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Netherlands  then April 13 onto Paris, France and the last leg, JFK.


Eastern Airline Group Rumor


The rumor on the Internet is that Eastern Air Lines Group has received an official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) presumably linked to Swift Air who has a corporate headquarters in Phoenix, AZ and an Operations  Headquarters in Greensboro, NC.


However, the details have not been made public and there is conflicting information on the Internet. One source says “The pilots left at EA have been told to expect a merger starting in early June completed by year end. The EA name will survive and supposedly the certificate will be turned in. Details will be forthcoming by end of month on pay, seniority list integration, etc.”


The other source “Jeff Conry, Swift Air President and CEO states there is no merger, managing, acquisition or buy out. That aircraft are being acquired from Eastern to the certificate.”

We can’t assume one way or the other as we have not found any evidence of either Management speaking out on this issue, nor any public announcement from either company.


We have no idea what that means for Eastern Air Lines Group and its future.

We do know that back in 2013 they {Swift Air} were securing funding to prepare to exit a bankruptcy. Article on this can been seen by going to:


http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/swift-air-llc-secures-funding-prepares-to-exit-bankruptcy-218979811.html.

October 2016


Astonishing News, Ed Wegel is Being Replaced

At The Eastern Air Lines Group

 



October 17, 2016 Eastern Airlines Retirees were astounded to hear the news flash of the step-down of Ed Wegel as CEO and President from the Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc. in an article on the website of Airways Magazine by Chris Sloan. The Eastern Facebook page said the same to that effect. None of us wanted to believe this. We do know that circumstances do change and if Ed Wegel decided to leave the company and/or agreed to terminate in the interest of EAL’s future, as CEOs elsewhere have had to do, so be it!

 

Ed Wegel started the EAL Group, Inc. in 2008 and sought out investors for their financial support. Ed contributed 8 years service and got the Charter business up and running with many sports’ contracts to add to their client base; FIU, Florida Panthers, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, to name a few charters.

 

Our Eastern family thought this was unheard of especially when you factor in; the vision Ed had to bring it to fruition; the investors he secured to financially make it happen, the time, energy, and perseverance that Ed gave to make EAL successful; the significant clients they partnered with to make it well known to the public; and, bringing the Eastern Legacy forward.

 

The Eastern Family doesn’t what transpired. We commend Ed highly for all he has done to bring the Eastern name to a higher level. We can only anxiously wait to hear some good news of the plans Ed Wegel has for his future. Ed Wegel is a great part of our Eastern Family and we send him much success in his future endeavors.


Eastern takes flight from Miami again

Boeing 737-800 readies at MIA for the first revenue flight for the relaunched Eastern Air Lines, Thursday May 28, 2015. | WALTER MICHOT MIAMI HERALD STAFF By Hannah Sampson - [email protected]


Eastern is back in business at Miami International Airport.

The well-known carrier with the hockey stick logo — a resurrection of the airline that called Miami home for decades — lifted off for its first revenue flight on Thursday afternoon. The destination for Eastern flight 3145 was Havana, in partnership with HavanaAir Charters. Eastern Air Lines planes at sunset, Miami International Airport, Dec. 29, 1981. | C.W. GRIFFIN MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Eastern Air Lines announced last week that it had signed an agreement with Miami-based HavanaAir to provide the lift for the operator’s charter flights to Havana, Santa Clara and Camaguey. The airline’s Boeing 737-800 will fly twice daily to Havana from Miami and weekly to the other destinations, with plans to add service to Cuba from other gateway cities in the U.S. over the next couple months.


HavanaAir used other carriers in the past but approached Eastern because of its longtime name recognition and newer generation of aircraft, said Eastern president and CEO Ed Wegel. He said he overheard someone notice the iconic signage and say: “Oh, Eastern? Are they back?”


Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research in San Francisco, called the contract a “great win” for Eastern that will give the startup operational experience, revenue — and attention. “It’ll be good for Eastern in terms of giving it a lot of frequencies and it’s also a high-profile market,” Harteveldt said. “It’s great visibility for the airline.” For Wegel, Thursday’s flight (refreshments: soft drinks and plantain chips) represented a milestone in the works since 2007.


In the years since, he and his partners have worked to hammer out agreements with the estate of the old Eastern, which ceased operations 24 years ago; raise millions in capital; earn certification from the Federal Aviation Administration; get approval from the Department of Transportation; acquire plans; train the first group of pilots and flight attendants; earn government approval to be a charter carrier and get the OK from the Transportation Security Administration to go to Cuba.


As he sat in the terminal surrounded by passengers preparing to board, Wegel said Thursday afternoon that he felt “a sense of pride in our people that they put all this together.” The earlier Eastern — once the largest private employer in Miami-Dade County — filed for bankruptcy protection in 1989 and stopped flying in 1991. The new airline is not affiliated with the original carrier but acquired its intellectual property; shareholders from the old airline also received rights to buy a stake in the new company.


Eventually, Eastern plans to fly as a scheduled carrier, but the process could take a year once started. The airline is still in the planning phase now, Wegel said. In the near term, a second 145-seat aircraft is scheduled for delivery next month and will go into service July 1 flying for a “major scheduled airline” still to be announced into the Caribbean from New York and Miami. A third plane comes online in August.


Chris Sloan, editor in chief and publisher of AirwaysNews.com, said Eastern stands out as a charter carrier because its aircraft is newer and more fuel efficient than many of its competitors. And it stands out as a new iteration of an old brand because if its business plan, he said. Unlike other old names such as Pan Am and Braniff that have been brought back to life only to fail again, Sloan said the new Eastern appears to be ramping up in a smart way. “They’re going to get their operations straight, generate revenue on charters before venturing to scheduled service,” Sloan said. “That, to me, is encouraging that they’re not leaping with both feet in. Virtually everyone else who has resurrected a name has failed at it. They’ve all done it completely differently than Eastern is.”


The company has set up shop at Miami International Airport's Building 5A, the former Eastern operations center. Community appreciation for the airline was evident in December, when the first aircraft arrived and crowds of politicians and former employees gathered to welcome it with cheers. In contrast to its December event, which featured Frank Sinatra songs, ice sculptures and historic photos, Thursday’s flight took off without any pageantry. “Enough celebrating,” Wegel said. “Now we need to re-earn our wings.”


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article22561377.html#storylink=cpy
Eastern Air Lines to Inaugurate Flying Next Week 
By Chris Sloan / Photos by Author / Published May 22, 2015


This Friday morning, the fourth floor of the original Eastern Airlines operations building in Miami which is the headquarters for the new Eastern is brimming with energy and enthusiasm. While many Americans are already leaving work early in advance of the long Memorial Day weekend, the Eastern team is hunkered down, preparing to inaugurate passenger service next week. Despite a hectic schedule, Eastern CEO Edward J. Wegel took time out of his busy schedule to give AirwaysNews an update on the status of the airline and their announcement of their first passenger service.


Proving Runs and Certification

Signs from the new and old EAL


From mid-April until May 4, the airline was busy completing proving runs that are required by the FAA in order to get its Part 121 Air Carrier Operating Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  which it was awarded last week. The airline conducted proving runs to various airports including: Colorado Springs, Columbus (the birthplace of Eddie Rickenbacker), Dallas Love Field, Islip, San Antonio, San Juan, and Santo Domingo. The airline was also granted foreign charter authority by the U.S. DOT last week. 


Flight Crew Classes and Graduates

EAL flight attendant uniforms in the headquarters


The first pilot class was made up of nine, and they graduated back in February. Meanwhile, the second class is made up of ten pilots, and they will be in the sims next week; the second class is on track to graduate by June 15.


The first class of flight attendants graduated back in February, and the second class of forty graduated on May 13 when the airline received its Part 121 from the FAA. One of the new hire flight attendants is an original Eastern Air Lines FA.

Fleet 


Eastern’s second 737-800 is due to arrive on property my mid-to-late June. Its third and fourth 737-800s will be brand new from a leasing company.

By September, Eastern plans to receive its fifth airplane which will be a 737-700. The airline plans to use this aircraft for sports charters beginning with “The Florida Panthers” NHL team.

MRJ model in the headquarters


The ten 737MAX aircraft it has purchase rights for will begin being delivered by the end of 2022.


“We have twenty MRJ’s on order which are due to arrive in 2019. It has the low seat mile costs of a 737-800 in a ninety seat aircraft. We can put them into secondary markets and places like Bahamas and Jamaica for nonstop lift from secondary markets. I wish I had them today,” Wegel says.


Some aircraft will be all economy while others will be mixed cabins as it will depend on the charter customers requirements.


EAL to Inaugurate Flying Next Week


Eastern has signed an agreement to support HavanaAir’s charter operations to Cuba in and out of Miami, by Wednesday of next week.


Eastern will operate twice daily service to Havana and weekly service to Camaguey and Santa Clara. Additionally, Eastern will support HavanaAir’s existing operations to Cuba with some 65 flights monthly.


A Boeing 737-800 (Next Generation) aircraft with 16 First Class seats and 129 Coach seats in the main cabin on all flights to Cuba.


“We are very pleased to partner with Eastern Air Lines.  Eastern earned iconic status in the U.S. airline industry for decades and we are both honored and privileged to partner with their highly experienced management.  Our partnership with Eastern will provide an entirely new level of service to Cuba with their Next Generation Boeing aircraft and their commitment to excellent customer service.” said Mark Elias, President and COO of HavanaAir Charters.


“We are excited to partner with HavanaAir Charters. Eastern was formerly the largest provider of air seats in the Cuba market, and with this agreement, Eastern will once again provide more seats to Cuba than any other U.S. carrier.  Cuba is and always will be a very important market for Eastern as we grow our airline and we look forward to proving service from additional U.S. gateways along with our home airport of Miami International”, said Wegel in a press release. The two airlines plan to also launch service from other U.S. gateways within 60 days. Next Saturday, the airline will fly sixty American Military veterants on a special Honor flight from Miami to Washington DCA airport.


Looking Into the Future


When Wegel was asked where he sees Eastern one year from now, he replied: “We will always have a charter division, but we will begin to move into schedule operations in 12 months. This will happen once we conclude another round of equity raising.”


Wegel declined to disclose further details on scheduled operations such where Eastern may serve or the business model they will adopt; however, he did say that “We are not an LCC. We have the benefits of a legacy airline brand with new entrant costs.”


EXTRA: Eastern Air Lines Returns Home to Miami

EXTRA: Flashback Friday; The History of Eastern Air Lines

EXTRA: Q&A with Eastern Air Lines CEO Ed Wegel

——————————

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Eastern’s first 737-800 shows its colours
By Edward Russell on 5 November, 2014 in Airlines, Americas

The first Boeing 737-800 bound for start-up Eastern Air Lines has rolled out of a paint shop in Ireland, adorned in the former US trunk carrier’s iconic livery.

Computer generated image of an Eastern 737-800. (Eastern Air Lines)

 

Two photos of the aircraft – seen here and here – which will be registered N276EA but continues to operate under the registration 5Y-KYB of former operator Kenya Airways, at Shannon International have appeared on the Airliners.net website.


The 737-800 was first delivered to Kenya Airways under lease from BOC Aviation in 2006, the Ascend Fleets database shows. FLY Leasing, which is leasing the aircraft to Eastern, bought it in 2011.


Eastern plans to launch charter services from a base at Miami International airport to destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America in early 2015, chief executive Edward Wegel told Flightglobal in July. It plans to add scheduled flights later that year.


The carrier has yet to secure an operating certificate from the Department of Transportation, with a series of responses to questions on its financial position and ownership dated 27 October the latest filing with the regulator in this process.


Despite lacking an operating certificate, Eastern has firm orders for 10 737-800s and 20 Mitsubishi Regional Jet 90s, Ascend data shows. It finalised the MRJ order in September after announcing it at the Farnborough air show in July and announced the 737 order in May.


Eastern is just the latest relaunch of an iconic aviation brand, that has included attempts to bring back venerable names ranging from Braniff to Pan Am.

A new People Express began service in June but shut down again in September citing maintenance issues and aircraft and crew availability. It remains grounded pending government approval to restart flights.


Eastern shut its doors in 1991, after more than a decade of cutbacks and losses. It was one of the largest airlines in the world in its heyday, as this route map from 1980 attests. - See more at: http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/airline-business/2014/11/easterns-first-737-800-shows-colours/#sthash.TTbZyPjZ.Yq8brRia.dpuf


Interview with Ed Wegel

By Benét J. Wilson / Published November 5th, 2014.


Edward J. Wegel is the president and CEO of the new Eastern Airlines, based in Miami. He is an airline/aerospace executive with nearly 30 years of industry experience, working for carriers including Pan Am, Atlantic Coast Airlines, Chautauqua Airlines, Tower Airlines and Mesa Air Group. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and received his MBA in finance from the University of Northern Colorado. Below, we discuss topics including reviving the Eastern name, the climate for start-up airlines and the carrier’s niche in the industry.


AirwaysNews.com: What made you want to get back into the airline business?


Ed Wegel: I’m not sure I ever left. The bankruptcy estate of Eastern Airlines, which is still around, came to me in 2007 and asked me to put together a business plan to relaunch the airline. We looked at it and put together a first plan and raised some capital in the summer of 2008. Then in September 2008, there was the global economic meltdown and it became impossible to raise money when the world was in a depression. It’s hard enough to raise money for an airline, but in this environment, it was impossible. So we put the plan on the shelf, then brought it back in 2010 after putting some meat on the bone and raising money.


You need a smaller amount of money to get into the air as an ACMI (aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance) or charter operator. After we get an aircraft on our certificate, we will have the momentum we need to raise more money and start scheduled service. We hope to start a round of financing after being certified early next year.


AN: Eastern was an iconic airline brand. Why use that name for your airline instead of starting with something new?


EW: The original Eastern Airlines shut down in January 1991. Think of all the changes in the airline industry since, including the creation of low-cost carriers and ultra low-cost carriers, along with all the legacy carriers going through bankruptcy. We respect the past and the name, along with where it operated and its philosophy. So we want to bring it back with newer aircraft, the Boeing 737-800, in our fleet.


When our first aircraft arrives in December, we will pay homage to the past, especially with who the aircraft will be named after. We want to create a business that’s in line with what everyone has learned in the past 20 years with things like fuel hedging and handling maintenance. Eastern will be modernized, but still pay homage it its legacy. We’ve all learned so much since deregulation and since the original Eastern shut down.


AN: The industry has not been kind to start-up airlines. What are you doing to make sure that the airline becomes a success?


EW: The industry has not been kind to almost all airlines. Take a look at Spirit Airlines, which had difficulties before it became what it is now. We’re looking at what others did, right and wrong. The mistake made by most new carriers was going it alone, not having enough money, offering few amenities and not having the right mix of aircraft and cities. We want to do it right by working with other carriers and being a part of the airline community.  Why not just start with all that stuff instead of adding it later?

We’re bringing back Eastern as a legacy airline, but with the costs of a new-entrant carrier. There are passengers who want to connect out of Miami who don’t fly on American Airlines. So we want to codeshare and interline with them and offer feeder traffic. We also want to do charter and ACMI.

We could operate for Caribbean carriers who can’t afford the aircraft themselves, but not in the U.S. We have no intention of competing against regionals like Republic, Mesa and Trans States.


The Eastern Airlines name is still very well known in Miami and Latin America, and we think it’s a huge advantage to have that name recognition.  That’s why I think Boeing said we want to sell you aircraft.   We also think it’s why Mitsubishi came to us with its regional jet and CAE approached us to power the Eastern Flight Academy. If we were just ABC Airlines, I don’t think any of this would be happening.


AN: Normally start-up carriers begin operations with used aircraft. But Eastern has agreements for new 737s and the 90-seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet. Why did you decide to go with new aircraft?


EW: Boeing came to us after we filed our [Department of Transportation] 401 [certificate of public convenience and necessity for scheduled or charter operations] in February.  They saw that we had submitted it with the idea that we’d use Airbus A320s.  So they called and said they wanted to make a deal that was worth our while, and I’m happy with that decision.  Boeing has been a crucial strategic partner and has gone out of its way to help us with technical and manual support on the operations side.  They have been a great strategic partner. We have 10 firm orders for Next Genertion 737-700s and purchase rights on 10 737 MAX 8s. Eastern was the first airline to operate the 727 and 757, and Boeing wanted us to be a customer.


Mitsubishi came to us, showed us a better cabin for passengers and the aircraft’s geared turbofan, and pointed out that the cost for its 90-seat is same as 737-400.


AN: Where are you with the FAA and DOT approvals process?


EW: We’ve finished with the DOT and answered all answered their questions. We’re proceeding through the certification process. Our first aircraft, which is being painted, arrives in the second week of December.

AN: When do you hope the airline will begin scheduled passenger service?

EW: We need to do another equity raise. We’re focused on certification and getting our aircraft. We’re working on getting people excited about the name and getting our infrastructure in place. Our team is taking this in smaller pieces first, because it gives investors a level of comfort that we’re executing our plan, and that builds on itself. We’re hoping to do our next round of financing in the spring.


AN: What do you see as your niche in the airline industry?


EW: We think we can be an effective provider of airline services in Miami. We’ll have a hanger and the Eastern Flight Academy, with 10 simulators.  We’ll operate ACMI and charters, and see how we can work with sports leagues, since one of our investors is the owner of a National Hockey League team. Eventually, we’ll go into scheduled service.  We think we can handle between 20 and 25 aircraft. We want others to see that we can offer a safe, efficient airline and make money.


AN: What do you hope the airline will look like five years from now?


EW: I think that five years from now, we’ll be operating a very good charter division with eight to 10 737s. We’ll also be effectively employing MRJs for ourselves and other airlines, along with operating between 20 and 25 aircraft out of Miami.  We will also provide a maintenance operation and a flight training business.


Related Stories

Eastern Air Lines Places Order for Up to 20 Boeing 737s

Eastern Air Lines Is Looking For Pilots

Eastern Air Lines Chooses MRJ90 for Regional Flying


Radio Show Briefing by Ed Wegel, President, Eastern Airlines

October 14, 2016

Folks, if you missed Monday, October 14th's show you missed a great delivery by Ed Wegel, President of Eastern Airlines of where the company is as of this date and other exciting news about Eastern.  Here is one listner's summary of his comments:

"News Report: I just finished listening to Ed Wegel - President of the (new) Eastern Airlines on EAL Talk Show here on the internet. Ed pointed out that the funding requirement for start up of our new airline has been "over" accomplished. He pointed out that the decision was made to start the new EAL with A320 Airbus's. The personnel is in place to start getting the gov't to approve the initial items which are needed ( that is when our gov't gets back to work ). He expects the airline to be up and flying before this time 2014. The certification process will take a while and a great deal of work in the future to bring forth the airline to the point it is "approved" for passenger transport. Ed pointed out that all updates concerning the start up will be posted on "Twitter.com" To follow, add to your "follow" list.......flyeastern. It was mentioned that the new Eastern Airlines is going to start up in the old operations bldg 5-A @ MIA. The subject of the COMAX aircraft was addressed and Ed Wegel mentioned that the door is NOT shut on that aircraft. He further pointed out that the engines on that aircraft burn 15% less fuel (@$3.50 per gal presently) than what the Airbus requires. Considerable savings for sure.........Lets all keep our Beloved Airline close to our hearts and wish the new management a God Speed!"

You can hear the entire broadcast by going to www.ealradioshow.com and clicking on Episode 136

COMAC says it has provisional deal with a reborn Eastern Airlines

ZHUHAI, China, Nov 13 (Reuters) - China unveiled 50 new orders for its COMAC C919 passenger jet at the opening of the country's main air show and promised to assist in the rebirth of one of the most famous names in aviation -- defunct U.S. carrier Eastern Air Lines.

Potentially worth several billion dollars, the orders for China's first commercial passenger jet dominated the first day of the China Airshow, held every two years in the southern cityof Zhuhai, along with fresh evidence of China's military ambitions.

 The C919 is designed to challenge Airbus and Boeing in the largest segment of the $100 billion annual jetliner market. Tuesday's orders for the 150-seat jet boosted the official tally to 380, reaching the state-owned manufacturer's declared breakeven point of 300-400 orders.

 However, Western analysts say it will be some time before the aircraft, due to make its maiden flight in 2014, proves both its technical worth and its financial viability. "You can always build a jet -- you can practically Google it, in fact," said Virginia-based aerospace analyst RichardAboulafia. "But the real skill is creating something the market wants and then selling and financing it."

Confirming a Reuters report, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) announced orders for 20 aircraft each from local carriers Joy Air and Hebei Aviation Group. Its only foreign customer GECAS, the leasing and financing unit of General Electric which co-produces the engines, agreed to buy 10 more, taking its total order for the plane to 20.

Others that have expressed interest include Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair and British Airways, according to COMAC. Separately, COMAC forecast the global passenger fleet would double in size over the next 20 years, thanks mainly to a sharp increase in demand from China where annual passenger traffic would grow an average 7.2 percent each year to 2031.

In its 2012-2031 Market Forecast report, COMAC predicted 31,739 new planes, valued at $3.9 trillion, would be needed worldwide over the next two decades to meet demand. China alone would need nearly 5,000 new planes in that time.

 EASTERN REBORN?

 In a surprise move, the state manufacturer also announced tentative purchase plans by investors said to be planning to resurrect U.S.-based Eastern Air Lines, which went bankrupt in 1991.

There have been sporadic reports of efforts to re-launch the airline, whose forked logo was seen on display as a backdrop to Tuesday's signing ceremony.

The announcement puzzled several delegates, including some who had done business with the original Eastern, who said little had been heard about the re-invented airline's plans or its leadership. "We do not comment on our customers," a COMAC spokesman said.

Once led by former World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacker and later by former Apollo astronaut Frank Borman, Miami-based Eastern Air Lines rose to become one of the largest airlines in the world before losing a battle against low-cost competition. "We are still a young company. The start-up investment has not been finalized yet," Jack Shi, senior vice president for commercial development of Eastern Air Lines, told Reuters.

Shi addressed a packed hall of Chinese airline executives and media, but there were no other top executives present from the U.S. carrier which Shi said had been reconstituted in 2008 in Miami, the original hub of Eastern. He said the airline, which included some previous employees of the bankrupted group, was shopping for planes to start services late next year from Miami to unspecified destinations in Latin America.

"Eastern used to be the largest U.S. airline to serve the Latin America market," he said. "A lot of preparation work needs to be done, such as applying for an air route." Shi told his Chinese audience that once reborn, Eastern  wanted to be the first operator to fly COMAC jets in the United States just as it had introduced the European Airbus there.

This Page is Dedicated to News About the New Eastern

Please send us any information you see on the internet or newspapers and we will keep our members updated on this website.  

This just in........... 11'19/12

Gilder Anne McCarroll This former dependent has been watching the Net for rumors /plans of "New Eastern" for years. Here's what I know so far.

Mr. Wegel is on LinkedIn ("Edward Wegel") and on Twitter (@FlyEastern). I follow not only his tweets but any that reference Eastern (via the search function).
http://twtrland.com/profile/FlyEastern

"Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc." was incorporated 2011 in Delaware, registered with Florida authorities same year.

http://www.bizapedia.com/fl/EASTERN-AIR-LINES-GROUP-INC.html

Mr. Wegel's investment group has been working since at least 2009 to get EAL back in the air. Besides the news from the Chinese air show, there's also been Twitter buzz and news articles from Paraguay (and Ecuador?) about potential operations there.

Since there is not yet an official web presence for EAL Group Inc., I assume that the new corporation is keeping its cards close its chest.

Hope this helps separate rumor and conjecture from fact.

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