America’s Eastern Airlines Aquires A Second Hand Boeing 777

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Eastern Airlines has just expanded its fleet of eight Boeing 767 aircraft, by adding one Boeing 777. The 18 years old ex-Singapore Airlines aircraft joined Eastern Airlines on May 29th, but it is not clear yet for what services it will be used.

Eastern Airlines Getty
Eastern Airlines operates scheduled and charter flights to South America with a fleet of 767 aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

Acquiring a 777-200ER aircraft

Given the slowdown in aviation in 2020, many airlines are reducing fleet sizes, and retiring or storing aircraft. Eastern Airlines, on the other hand, has made an interesting move to acquire one aircraft for its fleet. Eastern Airlines confirmed to Simple Flying that it purchased a second hand Boeing 777-200ER aircraft on May 29th.

American Airlines 777-200
American Airlines operates the 777-200ER. Photo: Getty Images

The aircraft in question, now registered as N771KW, has a long history. According to Airfleets.net, it started service in 2002 with Singapore Airlines. It moved to operate charter flights with FlyGlobal in Malaysia in 2016, and then in 2017 was leased to Nesma Airlines in Saudi Arabia. It is currently stored at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville.

Where will the 777 fly?

Eastern Airlines operates scheduled routes between New York and South America (currently limited to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and Georgetown, Guyana). It also operates several charter flights and has submitted a request to start US domestic flights between New York and San Diego.

During the coronavirus pandemic, it has also flown relief flights to South America. According to the Outside Online, it has operated 102 flights from 15 countries to the US. 

All of these flights are operated using the airlines’ current fleet of eight Boeing 767 aircraft. So far, there is no indication where the 777 aircraft will be used, or indeed if any of these routes would benefit from it.

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Eastern Airlines 767
Eastern Airlines 767 in the airline’s current livery. Photo: Eastern Airlines

In a discussion about the acquisition by the website One Mile At A Time, it was hypothesized that perhaps it would be used for cargo operations, given that the Eastern Airlines does not seem to have long-range ambitions for scheduled services. Given its age and the likelihood it was purchased for a low price, this could make sense.

Not the ‘old’ Eastern Airlines

Whenever we discuss Eastern Airlines, it is worthwhile clarifying the airline’s history. Eastern Airlines, of course, was a well known US airline, operating between 1926 and 1991 from a base in Miami. While the airline did not survive, its branding has, through a series of new airlines and asset transfers.

Eastern Air Lines Returns To Miami
The old Eastern Airlines went bankrupt in 1991. Photo: Getty Images

Simple Flying covered this history in detail in a previous article. In 2011, a new airline, Eastern Air Lines, was formed. It purchased the trademark of the old Eastern Airlines and operated charter services from Miami. When this airline ceased operation in 2017, its assets were acquired by Swift Air. Dynamic International Airways (which has existed since 2010) acquired the branding and, with its existing fleet of Boeing 767 aircraft, this became the Eastern Airlines we know today!

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Eastern Airlines is undoubtedly an interesting operation. It remains to be seen where it will fly after COVID-19, or how it will use the new aircraft. Let us know what you think about the airline’s plans in the comments. Or, if you have flown Eastern Airlines, we would love to hear about your experiences.

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