This doesn’t seem like an auspicious time to try and start, or re-start an airline, but a group of former Eastern Airlines employees and an investor group are exploring the rebirth of Eastern.
In a letter circulated to former Eastern Airlines employees, an investor group announced that they have “concluded a deal with the Eastern Airlines estate to acquire the name, trademarks and affiliate names (including Eastern Express and Eastern Shuttle) for the purpose of re-starting the airline as a scheduled airline.”
Ed Wegel, a veteran of the airline world and current CEO of Eastern Airlines, Inc., told former Eastern Airlines employees, “We have developed a business plan for the re-start of Eastern which leverages off of Eastern’s core strengths while using all of the lessons we have learned from all of the start up airlines and the restructuring of all of the legacy carriers over the past 18 years.”
According to this letter, the new airline management will break new ground with contracts with the new Eastern’s crew members and a stock ownership plan that will completely align everyone’s interest in the new company.
Wegel closed out his letter to former Eastern employees with a paean to the workers at Eastern.
One of Eastern’s greatest assets was its people, and we have formed an advisory group with volunteer representatives from marketing, sales, in-flight, facilities, maintenance, and ops. We want to retain the creativity, energy and vision that epitomized the Eastern that flew for over 70 years, and created the Shuttle, System One and countless other innovations.
Ed Wegel, certainly has the credentials and some of the investment-community connections that might make this resurrection a success: CEO, Eastern Airlines, Inc., April 2006 — Present; President, BWIA, 1994 — 1996); SVP, Atlantic Coast Airlines, 1991 — 1996; AVP, Shearson Lehman, 1987 — 1991; Manager, Pan American World Airways, 1985 — 1988; and Manager, Eastern Airlines 1985 — 1987.
The investment group plans to acquire 30 new Airbus aircraft and faces re-certification of Eastern with the FAA and DOT. Getting financing is certainly going to be tough in this current economic environment.