Eastern Airlines Plans To Commence Flights Before The Year’s End

The revival of the popular US carrier Eastern Air Lines could be just weeks away, as its modern reincarnation, Eastern Airlines, has announced the start of flights on the 5th December. The airline is planning to begin twice-weekly service using a Boeing 767-300ER between New York, JFK and Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Eastern Airlines
Eastern Airlines is almost ready to take off. Photo: Eastern Airlines

Flights beginning December 5th

The airline has confirmed that flights will start on December 5th, 2019, between New York JFK and Guayaquil, Ecuador. The flights will operate twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, using a Boeing 767-300ER. The airline says it has configured its 767 with 30 premium and 212 economy seats.

In a press release by the company, Steve Harfst, President and CEO at Eastern Airlines said,

“We are delighted to announce the commencement of operations to and from Ecuador, the ‘Country of the four worlds’ and a land of natural landscapes, ancient history and vibrant culture. Our inaugural flights between Guayaquil, the ‘Pearl of the Pacific’ and New York will provide our customers with lower fares and the only non-stop service between these two cities. And with our wide-body, large cabin aircraft our customers can be assured that their bags will travel with them. No bag will be left behind.”

Eastern Airlines will, hopefully, have more than just a name in common with the original Eastern Air Lines. The brand and logo of the original Eastern Air Lines was bought by Dynamic International Airways some years ago, and have now been absorbed into the new Eastern Airlines LLC. As such, the new airline will likely bear more than a passing resemblance to its predecessor.

Eastern Air Lines
The livery is very familiar – this is the old Eastern Air Lines. Photo: Clipperatic via Flickr

What can we expect from the new Eastern Airlines?

Not many airlines choose phrases like “the raw and fragile beauty of being alive” to describe their services, but the new Eastern Airlines has done just that. While there’s a lot of flowery language on the website and not much in the way of solid information, we can glean a few things about the United States’ newest airline.

For a start, it looks as if this will be a hybrid carrier, offering low-ish fares but also providing meals as standard. The website states passengers can preselect their own locally prepared meal before flying, suggesting buy on board will be limited or absent.

They state they carry bags. They don’t expand on whether this is included in the ticket price or not, although the press release does suggest that, at least for the first few flights, two checked bags will be included as standard.

Eastern Airlines
Low fares and some perks. Photo: Eastern Airlines

We reached out to the new Eastern Airlines who told us,

We are excited to start twice weekly service from Guayaquil to New York.  Once we do announce our schedule and put tickets out for sale, our fares will be significantly less than other airlines.  Eastern Airlines will offer introductory and competitive fares that will be available early November on our website  www.goeasternair.com.   Eastern will be the only large cabin, wide body aircraft offering non-stop service to New York at fares that offer compelling value.  

“Our cabins are larger and provide more headroom and more overhead bin space than a single aisle, narrow body aircraft that is flying at its maximum range.  Depending on the fare we will offer 2 checked bags free and 1 carry on.  Because we operate a large cabin, twin aisle, wide body aircraft B767, we can carry ALL of our customers checked baggage.   No Bag Left Behind. 

“Eastern offers complimentary snacks and Non-alcoholic beverages on all flights, while economy-class passengers will pay extra for alcoholic options. We do not have inflight entertainment at this time.  This may be something we revisit at a later date.”

Where to next?

In terms of future routes, there are some indications on the website that the next announced flights will be to Georgetown and Miami. Miami is a bit of a surprise, as JFK to Miami is already super well served by incumbent carriers, and the whole point of Eastern Airlines was about connecting underserved international airports with JFK…

CH-Aviation reports that the carrier’s application for Georgetown was actually denied due to the level of debt linked to the airline’s predecessor. Perhaps they are planning to reapply. Jinan and Anchorage have also been applied to, although no decision is recorded yet.

CH-Aviation states that the airline has one 767-200, three -200ER and five 767-300ER on its books. They say it is also adding a Boeing 777-200ER to its fleet shortly.

While it’s always nice to see a new carrier preparing to launch, one has to wonder about the business strategy of this reincarnation of Eastern. Underserved routes are a fair place to start, but surely if there was a market there, one of the US behemoths would have started service. We’ll certainly be watching the airline with interest.