Last October, we wrote about Eastern Airlines planning service between New York, JFK, and Guayaquil, Ecuador. While these flights are currently suspended, the airline seems to be making plans for this summer. According to One Mile at a Time (OMAAT), the carrier is seeking permission from the government to operate a new service between New York JFK and San Diego.
Reports indicate that Eastern submitted a request to the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) for permission to operate a new nonstop transcontinental service between New York and San Diego (California).
Tentative flight details for the 3x weekly service are as follows (all times local):
- Depart New York at 22:00 and arrive in San Diego at 01:50 the next day.
- Depart San Diego at 06:40 and arrive in New York at 15:10
The filing indicates that this would start as soon as June 1st, which is just three weeks from now.
As the airline has a fleet of eight Boeing 767 aircraft, we would assume these jets would fly the route.
Will it fly?
It is indeed a peculiar time to be filing for a new route. This comes at a time when many large airlines are operating at just 10-20% of pre-pandemic capacity with hundreds of aircraft grounded.
Eastern seems rather optimistic that it can successfully launch a new transcontinental service during a pandemic. There are some things to consider when commenting on the potential success of this route.
The timing of the flights is quite awful. It isn’t too common for a transcontinental flight to begin a westbound journey so late in the day. While passengers may not feel too rushed getting to JFK airport, they are certainly in for a long night as the flight would finally arrive in San Diego at around 02:00. Heading east, passengers would need to arrive at San Diego’s airport quite early in the morning in order to catch their 06:40 flight. The one benefit of this, at least, is the fact that there is a fair amount of daylight left in New York upon arrival.
One factor that currently favors the airline is the ridiculously low price of fuel. As a major airline expenditure, the current cost would help with its profit margins – especially as it is operating less efficient, older, Boeing 767s.
OMAAT put forward an interesting hypothesis – that this new service could be more geared towards cargo. That could be one way to explain the horrible timing of the services.
The fact that the airline is operating this route and going up against well-established competitors Delta and JetBlue is very interesting. Especially when considering its infrequent and strange flight schedule. But we’ll just have to wait three weeks to see if things go as planned for the small airline.
Do you think this route will go ahead as per its US DOT filing? Or is it just wishful thinking? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Simple Flying contacted the airline looking for a comment or statement. At the time of publishing, no response was received. We’ll update this article if anything comes in.