Eastern Air Lines
Eastern Air Lines, also colloquially known as Eastern, was a major American airline from 1926 to 1991. Before its dissolution, it was headquartered at Miami International Airport in an unincorporated area of Miami-Dade County, Florida.
|Founded||April 19, 1926 (as Pitcairn Aviation)|
|Ceased operations||January 17, 1991; Was later restarted on May 28, 2015|
|Parent company||Eastern Air Lines, Inc. (Texas Air Corporation)|
|Headquarters||New York City|
Dade County, Florida
|Key people||Eddie Rickenbacker (First CEO)|
Eastern was one of the "Big Four" domestic airlines created by the Spoils Conferences of 1930, and was headed by World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker in its early years. It had a near monopoly in air travel between New York and Florida from the 1930s until the 1950s and dominated this market for decades afterward.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, during the deregulation, labor disputes and high debt loads strained the company under the leadership of former astronaut Frank Borman. Frank Lorenzo acquired Eastern in 1985 and moved many of its assets to his other airlines, including Continental Airlines and Texas Air. After continued labor disputes and a crippling strike in 1989, Eastern ran out of money and was liquidated in 1991.
American Airlines obtained many of Eastern's routes from Miami to Latin America and the Caribbean, while Delta Air Lines, Eastern's main competitor at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, acquired many of Eastern's Lockheed L-1011 aircraft. USAir acquired 11 of Eastern's 25 Boeing 757-225 aircraft.
Eastern pioneered hourly air shuttle service between New York City, Washington, DC and Boston in 1961 as the Eastern Air Lines Shuttle. It took over the South American route network of Braniff International upon its shutdown in 1982 and also served London Gatwick in 1985 via its McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 "Golden Wings" service. Although Eastern announced on their March 2, 1986 timetable that it would serve Madrid, Spain effective May 1, 1986, the service did not commence. The only scheduled trans-Atlantic service Eastern provided was Miami to London Gatwick, commencing on July 15, 1985 and was discontinued in 1986 and replaced with codeshare flights from Atlanta via British Caledonian Airways.