Eastern Airlines Plans New York To Wuhan Flights

Eastern Airlines Plans New York To Wuhan Flights

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In the past I’ve called Eastern Airlines the world’s strangest airline. The carrier has a fleet of Boeing 767s and Boeing 777s, and it operates one scheduled route — a once monthly Miami to Santo Domingo flight. Well, the airline is now hoping to launch a second scheduled flight, and hopes to fly between New York and Wuhan.

I mean, before we even talk about this, let’s just stop and appreciate that for a moment. An international carrier’s two scheduled flights could be Miami to Santo Domingo and New York to Wuhan. Now I’ve seen it all.

Eastern Airlines plans to fly to Wuhan, China

As flagged by @IshrionA, Eastern Airlines has filed with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), requesting permission to fly between New York and Wuhan:

  • The airline is requested expedited approval, and hopes to launch this route in January 2024
  • The airline would fly from New York (JFK) to Wuhan (WUH) via Anchorage (ANC), with the authority to sell seats between New York and Anchorage (though the airline may not necessarily do that)
  • This would be scheduled passenger service, so this isn’t charter service and isn’t exclusively cargo service (though I’m sure cargo would be a big part of the route)
Eastern wants to fly from New York to Wuhan

In late 2022, Eastern Airlines had requested permission to fly from New York to Shanghai, though it took the DOT many months to approve that. In the meantime, the airline has had a change of heart, and instead wants to fly to Wuhan.

Honestly, this is a real head-scratcher:

  • While Wuhan is a secondary Chinese city, admittedly it still has a substantial population, of over 12 million people
  • Airlines could make money operating any service to China at this point, given how heavily restricted international slots are for China, which means capacity is limited and airfare is high
  • There must be some motive for choosing Wuhan over Shanghai; is the airport offering significant incentives to airlines, or…?
Eastern Airlines has Boeing 777s

What is Eastern Airlines’ deal, anyway?

Just for some more background on Eastern Airlines, people are often confused because the name should sound familiar, given that Eastern was a major US airline that ceased operations in 1991. Long story short, in 2015, rights to the Eastern name were purchased, though the airline went out of business. Then Dynamic International Airlines purchased the rights to the name, and that’s what modern day Eastern Airlines is.

Eastern Airlines has Boeing 767s and Boeing 777s, and mostly operates as a charter airline, contracting out to the government. The airline doesn’t seem to utilize its fleet very efficiently. But what’s strangest about the airline is how it sort of dabbles in scheduled commercial service.

It’s my understanding that the airline operates once monthly flights between Miami and Santo Domingo because in order to get certain government contracts, the airline needs to be a scheduled operator, and once monthly service is the minimum threshold required to achieve that.

But what’s bizarre is how Eastern has continued to claim it’s going to build up a network of scheduled passenger flights, but nothing seems to stick:

Eastern Airlines has Boeing 767s

Bottom line

Eastern Airlines has filed to launch a new flight between New York and Wuhan. The airline wants to launch this flight as of early 2024, with a stop in Anchorage. This would only be the carrier’s second scheduled route, in addition to the existing once monthly flight between Miami and Santo Domingo.

It’s anyone’s guess if this route actually launches, given Eastern’s history of announcing routes and not actually launching them. I understanding Eastern’s focus on charter flights, but can’t for the life of me make sense of the carrier’s approach to scheduled passenger operations.

What do you make of Eastern launching New York to Wuhan flights?

Conversations (13)
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  1. Charlie Diamond

    Wuhan?! Do they want to expedite importation of Covid 23?

    1. :) Guest

      New York? Do they want to expedite exportation of Covid to China? Since America has a lot more cases? Ignorant fool

  2. D. Darlington Guest

    Please quit using the Eastern Airlines name. It is still beloved to many of us who were once lucky enough to work there during its prime.

  3. AJO Member

    @Ben: you say in order to fly government charters, Eastern needs to maintain a certain minimum schedule. However, Omni Air International also operates government charters but has no scheduled flights, as far as I know.

  4. TravelCat2 Gold

    In 2022 my wife and I flew an Eastern Airlines B767-300 charter MIA-USH round trip. What a bunch of clowns. With the possible exception of the first few rows, the aircraft had very tight seating, no IFE, and no power ports. Never again.

  5. Erik Guest

    Can you try to get an interview with them to see if you can figure out what their deal is?

  6. Julio Rosario Guest

    What give new airlines has starter after 2020 and are doing fine whats going on with eastern .

  7. Mangiafiga Guest

    I think the airline is a front at this point

  8. Jim Guest

    Aren't China US routes the ones where you can only add one from a US carrier if a Chinese carrier also adds one, so it's the same number on both sides?

    I imagine plenty of US carriers are hungry to add more routes to China and are hampered by that. How is Eastern going to jump the queue?

  9. Mapoosi Ann Makrak Guest

    Is Eastern Airlines a front for money laundering?

    1. George Romey Guest

      I wondered the same thing. I have no idea how this airline stays in business. Maybe a couple uber rich people that like the idea of owning an airline?

    2. Jim Lajuene Guest

      They fly many DoD charters and must have the one scheduled route to be able to do that. They also fly sports charters.

  10. lavanderialarry Guest

    The route will never operate. Eastern announces routes and drops them quickly or never starts them.

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Erik Guest

Can you try to get an interview with them to see if you can figure out what their deal is?

2
D. Darlington Guest

Please quit using the Eastern Airlines name. It is still beloved to many of us who were once lucky enough to work there during its prime.

1
TravelCat2 Gold

In 2022 my wife and I flew an Eastern Airlines B767-300 charter MIA-USH round trip. What a bunch of clowns. With the possible exception of the first few rows, the aircraft had very tight seating, no IFE, and no power ports. Never again.

1
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