Would-be start-up Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc. says it has signed an initial order and placed deposits with the Boeing Company for 10 Boeing 737-800 jets, and has secured purchase rights for 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
“Eastern is extremely honored and privileged to be in business with Boeing once again. Eastern’s strong relationship with Boeing dates back to the 1930s, and later Eastern was the first airline to order and operate both the Boeing 727 and 757 aircraft,” says Edward Wegel, Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc.’s president and CEO.
“We will now proudly have the Boeing 737 Next Generation, and eventually the MAX aircraft, as our fleet standard,” adds Wegel.
Miami-based Eastern’s statement on May 15 that it had placed an initial order for 10 Boeing 737-800 jets and has secured purchase rights on 10 737 MAX 8s appears to contradict the company’s initial public statement on January 28 that it was beginning the process of certification with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the FAA as an airline.
In the January 28 statement, Eastern said that it planned to begin operations with a fleet of leased Airbus A319 and Airbus A320 jets and that the group of strategic partners with which it had established working relationships included Airbus.
Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc. was formed to re-launch the famous Eastern Air Lines name as a passenger airline from a main base of operations at Miami International Airport (IATA code MIA).
However, Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc. is not legally affiliated with the former Eastern Air Lines, which operated from 1928 to 1991 as one of the largest U.S. domestic carriers and had a large network to Caribbean and Latin American destinations, in addition to a large domestic network within the U.S.
In 2009, a group of airline managers acquired the intellectual property of Eastern Air Lines to develop a new business plan and financing plan to re-launch the airline.
According to Eastern’s management, its other strategic partners include the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (which operates MIA) and the Amadeus global distribution system.
The original Eastern Air Lines had a strong strategic relationship with Airbus, which dated back to 1972 when Eastern became a launch customer for the Airbus A300, the first-ever twin-engine widebody commercial jet type.
However, Eastern Air Lines also had a very strong relationship with the Boeing Company, as both a large customer for the Boeing 727-100 and Boeing 727-200 trijet models and as the launch customer for the Boeing 757.