For the first time in 23 years, Eastern Air Lines took to the sky again. On Friday December 19th, the new airline took delivery of their new Boeing 737-800 and officiated the new airline at a ceremony in Miami.
The old Eastern Airlines was founded in 1926 as Pitcairn Aviation. It quickly expanded and grew to becoming one of the biggest airlines in the United States.
The airline was known for its Miami and Atlanta hubs and service to Latin America. Eastern also pioneered the air shuttle service between Washington D.C, New York City, and Boston. Unfortunately, the deregulation period hit Eastern hard, and a period of turmoil filled with losses, strikes, and a poor economic climate, lead to the demise of the company in January of 1991.
Fast forward to 2011 and the new Eastern was born. A group of investors formed the Eastern Airlines Group and bought the intellectual property of the old Eastern. They then spent the next 3 years building capital.
The airline placed an order for 10 Boeing 737-800 and 10 Boeing 737-8Max. In July of 2014, the airline placed an order for 20 Mitsubishi MRJ’s, becoming the third airline in the United States to purchase these Japanese regional jets. The airline has plans to start charter operations from Miami in early 2015 and eventually expand to scheduled service a year later.
On a beautiful December morning in Miami, a crowd gathered at the hanger of Landmark Aviation on the north side of MIA. They had gathered in anticipation for the arrival of a white jet with the classic blue “hockey stick cheat line” style livery. Soon, the jet made it’s approach into MIA and performed a flyby over runway 8L exceeding speeds of 230 knots. After, the aircraft came back around and landed at her new home for the first time.
Once the beautiful jet was set in front of the hanger, Eastern executives and local politicians gave speeches. An emphasis was put on the commitment to the community here in Miami and helping to make MIA bigger and better. During the ceremony, Eastern announced their operational headquarters would be located at the location of the old airline’s headquarters, on the corner of NW 36th St. and Le Jeune Road.
Eastern has a bright future. It must carry on the legacy of the past Eastern Airlines while also targeting new technologies and other assets within the airline industry. With the right decisions, the airline may once again be one of America’s biggest and most prominent.
View all of the photos from the event here.
*All photos by the author unless otherwise stated