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If Eastern Airlines Didn't Die  
User currently offlineLga1011 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 67 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 4390 times:

If Eastern Airlines didn't die I think it would be one of the biggest airlines today, what do you think. I wonder if they would still have ATL has its homebase or would they start another major hub. I wonder also what they would replace there 727, A-300, DC-9 and L-1011s with, would they get 737, 767, 777, or airbuses you tell me. What other routes do you think they would get, and maybe merge with another airline. Tell me what you think I'd like to know.

Jeremy

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30 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFlagshipAZ From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3419 posts, RR: 14
Reply 1, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 4334 times:

This is just my own speculation on EA. Of course, they'll still be a major presence at ATL & MIA, with the Shuttle still going strong at BOS, DCA & JFK. They'll still have a stronghold on the South America markets, but that's it for the route network...the eastern USA & South America. EA would no longer have the 727, L-1011 & first gen A300. I believe they would had the A300-600s, 757s, DC-9-50s (same idea as NW), and maybe the MD-90s or the A320s. I don't think EA would have gotten anything larger than the A300 nowadays. If a merger proposal came along, I believe Delta is the first choice, IMO. All theories here. Regards.


"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4237 times:

Your statement "if Eastern Airlines didn't die, they would have been one of the biggest airlines today" doesn't make any sense.

They died because of mismanagement...., they'd be 'dead' no matter what....


User currently offlineElwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4231 times:

If EA had survived the early 1990s, they might well have challenged DL in ATL, but in the 80s DL built up its ATL hub, and EA waited, and that hurt them a lot. Even if EA had survived, they'd likely have died in the aftermath of 9/11.

But, I think they would have flown Boeing and MDD birds. Probably MD-11 for the L-1011s, and MD-90s to replace the 727s. Perhaps MD-95s (now 717s) for the DC-9s. Obviously they'd still have the 757s, as most airlines have held on to them. The A300s might still be around, but they would likely be replaced by 767s or 777s. I think that, like most airlines, they would have replaced the hypothetical MD-11 with 777s also.

Cheers!



Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
User currently offlineBluewave 707 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3152 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 4143 times:

If EA did not die ... that same question could be asked of the airlines of the 80s and 90s: Western, Braniff, PSA, AirCal, Hughes Air West, Republic, the original Pan Am, and more.

The core fleet may have been the 717, 757, and 767.



"The best use of your life will be to so live your life, that the use of your life will outlive your life" -- D Severn
User currently offlineTan Flyr From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1920 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 4051 times:

IF EA had survived the early 90's trhe fleet would have been the last of its problems unfortunatly...severe labor problems, extreemly disgruntled passengers are just 2 of the hurdles they would have had to over come to make it to the 2001 downturn.

With competition from the LCC's, the struggle would have been tough.

While Mr. Borman was a fine pilot and Astronaut, he did not seem to have exactly what EAL needed. And EAL's union(TWU?) antagonizer, Mr. Charlie Bryan had way too much influence.Then there was Lorenzo......

Thats my 2 cents on that part....as far as a fleet....the A-300's would be gone by now..probably replaced by A-300-600's (ie:AA) for Caribbean /latin American ops....certainly 763's for the rest of South America..maybe 777's by now.
The 717 would have been the perfect aircraft to transition to from the DC-9-31's, and I would have bet on probably 100 or so MD-80's. The 757 fleet might have been expanded to replace the last of the 727's.


User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3889 times:

Frank Borman was a da** fine Astronaut, but he didn't know Jack Schitt about running an airline.

User currently offlineDFWCapt From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 33 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3833 times:

BR715-A1-30 said: "Frank Borman was a da** fine Astronaut, but he didn't know Jack Schitt about running an airline."

He knew a lot more than Frank Lorenzo did. Actually, Borman had less to do with Eastern't demise than his 10,000 vice presidents did.

I suspect that if Eastern had survived...say, for example, that the strike had convinced Lorezno to take a hike...the company would today be much smaller, a heavily central-/eastern-U.S. carrier with a handfull of international destinations (Caribbean and Canada, mainly). The fleet...and this is SHEER speculation...would probably be a mixed bag of DC-9-31's, -51's, and perhaps MD-80's, and 757's and 767's for the longer-haul stuff.

I'd like to be flying for them, like my father before me. I can remember standing in ATL's concourse "C" with him, looking out at ASA's DHC-7's and EMB-120's, and hearing Dad say, "it's too bad a little outfit like that just can't make it in this day and age."

Now I'm at ASA and Eastern's gone. Who'd've thought...


User currently offlineDeltaRules From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3837 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3780 times:

Sorry, but I fail to see the purpose of such topics

It's fun to see what people think defunct airlines would have been like/how big they would've been/what their fleet would've looked like sometimes, and this is the place to do it.

I've got to agree with what's been said above. I think that if they were still around today, (which may have been iffy due to their bad management considering it led to EA's death), either the management or 9/11 would have ended them.

DeltaRules



Let's Kick the Tires & Light the Fires!!
User currently offline727LOVER From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 6613 posts, RR: 20
Reply 9, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3763 times:

Eastern would've survived if it had gone discount!


Listen Betty, don't start up with your 'White Zone' s*** again.
User currently offlineCanyonBlue From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3717 times:

EA died due to three reasons

1.) Mr. Boorman
2.) Mr. Bryant
3.) Mr. Lorenzo

Eastern would NOT been here today. Period.


User currently offlineHartsfieldboy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 552 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 3650 times:

If Eastern were still around, Valujet couldn't have had Eastern's old C gates at ATL, in turn Airtran wouldn't have any presence at ATL and would still only be a small airline out of Florida.

User currently offlineDETA737 From Portugal, joined Oct 2000, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3612 times:

I don't see why everyone is calling this a pointless topic, all of the topics we discuss on this board are ultimately pointless, we're just here to talk about our common love of aviation, it's pointless but fun. There are many of us here who give opinions on just as pointless topics for instance if a certain airline should purchase Airbus or Boeing planes, which is ultimately just as silly since our discussion has no effect on the outcome on the final decision. At least Lga1011 who is a new user has decided to start a thread that requires more knowledge than the typical "what's your favourite livery" or "what aircraft have you flown" posts that we see too often on this board. So we should stop criticising his post and this way those of us who were too young to pretend to be armchair CEO's of Eastern 20 years can do it now.

Ok now that I've said that, I'd like to say that I do not think that Eastern's downfall is inevitable, nothing in history is inevitable. A series of events precipitated EA's fall from end. Perhaps the biggest problem with Eastern as was with Pan Am, TWA and other now gone airlines a shortsighted management team. However, in the 1970s Eastern made a profit every year except 1973 (due to the fuel crisis) and 1975. 1978 and 1979 were record years for the airlines, it was only in 1980 that things began going bad. By 1986 when Frank Lorenzo came to the forefront it was just a matter of time before Eastern went down.

To discuss the question at hand one needs to create a plausible scenario that would have kept Eastern still alive today. So let us just say that at the time Eastern had management with the talent of say the people running Delta. This makes it so that the airline quickly consolidates Atlanta and Miami with hub and spoke system. BOS, MCO, LGA and SJU can be focus cities. Eastern still suffers from being essentially a North-South carrier with little presence on the West coast and that makes most of it's revenue in the Winter flying from the Northeast to Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico and after 1982 to South America. I'm not sure why no one has thought of this but a merger with TWA if done properly could have worked. TWA was the opposite of Eastern in that suffered from overcapacity during the winter and had little North-South flights and a presence in Europe but none in the Caribbean and Latin America. Eastern and TWA actually had a reciprocal leasing agreement where Eastern would lease TWA L-1011s during the peak winter season and TWA would lease some from Eastern during their peak summer season. Their route systems complemented each other and by merging the number 3 and 4 airlines in America would have catapulted the new Eastern-TWA to #1 easily ahead of United in terms of passengers carried (Eastern was already #1 1979-1984 I believe), fleet size and RPMs. Now you have a megacarrier with 747s, L-1011s, A300s, 727s, 707s and DC-9s. I think a fleet of the following would have been great:

777-200ER
A300B6
767-300ER
767-200
757-200
MD-82/83
717-200


User currently offlineDFWCapt From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 33 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3581 times:

CanyonBlue wrote: "EA died due to three reasons: (1) Mr. Boorman, (2) Mr. Bryant, (3) Mr. Lorenzo."

You might at least spell their names right.

Col. Frank Borman and Charles Bryan are both honorable men in their own ways. Borman was unusual in that he was one of the few airline management professionals to posses a conscience. And Bryan was trying to protect his mechanics...just like a good union leader should.

The fact is that Eastern would still have existed in SOME form (up to September 11th, possibly) if not for Frank Lorenzo and a politician he gave a lot of money to: George H. W. Bush Sr.

The day it was announced that Lorenzo was at the helm of EAL, my father came home from a three-day trip a shaken man. He said "we're going to lose the company by the end of the decade." He was right.

(By the way, dad wasn't a scab. He went out in '89 and stayed out.)

One more thing...so help me, this is true. It was 1988, a year before the strike. My father and his crew were riding a hotel courtesy van in New York with an Aeroflot crew. The Russians were sharing stories about how terrible things are at their company: no dispatch support, spotty maintenance, non-existent aircraft servicing, dirt runways, bad schedules, bad pay, etc, etc. My father's first officer whistled and said something along the lines of, "gee, you guys really have it rough."

The Aeroflot captain shrugged and replied, "it's not as bad as working for Frank Lorenzo...."


User currently offlineLga1011 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 67 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3582 times:

Thank you very much. I agree with you completely about the topics.

User currently offlineSccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5615 posts, RR: 28
Reply 15, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3559 times:

These topics are always amusing, at least for seeing the fantasies and historical myopia that they bring.

EAL was worm food- a dead man walking- way before Texas Air made the grave error of biting 'em off. Only real difference that the Texas Air acquisition made was the value of the liquidated assets in bankruptcy.

Frank Lorenzo managed to save two failing airlines- Texas International and Continental- then managed to be arrogant enough to make enemies out of the people who worked for him. Remember this well: every union except the IAM had agreed to appropriate concessions to keep CAL out of Chpt 11- it was the IAM that forced CAL into the box. Frank Lorenzo's genius (wish Braniff had had such good sense) was to file the 11 before it was out of working capital- they secured their debt relief while maintaining enough cash to restart operations.

Lastly, stop using the ludicrous and inaccurate term, "scab," in this context. You cannot be a strike breaker when there is no union contract to "strike."

Apt, it appears, that an earlier post in this thread mentions the soviets- they, too, were adept at reinventing history to serve a political purpose or to avoid reality.



...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineTxAgKuwait From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1803 posts, RR: 42
Reply 16, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3557 times:

DFWCapt wrties in : >>"The fact is that Eastern would still have existed in SOME form (up to September 11th, possibly) if not for Frank Lorenzo and a politician he gave a lot of money to: George H. W. Bush Sr."<<

First of all, you might as well get his name right. It is simply George H.W. Bush. There is no "Sr" attached to it, as there is no George H.W. Bush, Jr.

The younger Bush is simply George W. Bush.

Here are my questions:

How much cash did Lorenzo give to the Bush campaign in 1988?

How did that donation influence policy on the airlines?

I would argue, as someone who was around the industry in that time frame, that the employees killed Eastern.

Wages had skyrocketed in good times and Eastern was a victim of high labor costs that could not and would not allow them to function in a deregulated environment.

Lorenzo was possible the only big-time CAB-carrier CEO who had even a snowball's chance in hell of salvaging Eastern. If it weren;t for Lorenzo, there would be no Continental today.

Eastern was toast as soon as they signed the Airline Deregulation Act in (I believe it was) late 1978.

Eastern stands as a shining and classic example of "full pay to the last day." You might get a lot of golden eggs, but not much is left after the goose is dead.




User currently offlineDFWCapt From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 33 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 3527 times:

Ah, I'm a communist because I related a story about an Aeroflot pilot. And because I recognize that Lorenzo was (and is) a corrupt businessman. Gotcha. I'll try and remember that.

I did misstate Bush the First's name. I stand corrected.

I do not know how much money Lorenzo donated to the Bush campaign...I'm sure the figure can be found somewhere. (I'll look.) In any case, it was enough for Bush to help out his pal in Texas by vetoing the P.E.B. that probably would have settled the Eastern strike before the company disintegrated.

To those who would believe that Eastern was killed by its employees...specifically the pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics...why would they do that? Were they tired of their high-paying, high-prestige jobs and wanted to try unemployment? Were they all clinically insane? Was it a dare that got out of hand?

Or is it just possible that they thought principles were more important? Is it just possible that they hoped to save their company by ousting its corrupt leadership? (In retrospect, with the deck stacked against them, it would have been better to stay and fight from the inside.)

(By the way, speaking of name-spelling, the guy who saved Continental was "B-E-T-H-U-N-E.")

The "Eastern-was-dead-anyway" argument, the praise for Lorenzo's "genius" (wow, talk about revisionist history!), the criticism of those who risked everything for their beliefs usually comes from those who were willing to sell their souls and cross Lorenzo's various picket lines. People who placed economics ahead of morality. You call them what they are: scabs. All the hair-splitting in the world won't change it.


User currently offlineHlywdCatft From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5321 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 3499 times:

I brought up this topic before too.

Basically if Eastern had good management, where would they be? Lets say a hypethetical situation with Eastern surviving 9-11. Maybe they aren't profitable, but they are still flying in 2003.

I had proposed a fleet of

717s replacing the DC-9s
737NG replacing the 727s
newer 757s
763 and 4 replacing the L1011

A330-200 replacing the A300 and DC-10-30


Hubs would probably be ATL, MIA and BOS

But this question comes up...

Would there be an Air Tran if Eastern survived?

Would there be room at ATL for three airlines? Value Jet formed to take on Delta after Eastern fell. Value Jet took over the Eastern gates at ATL. Where would there be room for them if Eastern was still hubbed there? And what about MCO's Air Tran with the 737-200s? Would that have formed too. I think Eastern would have still had a strong presence in MCO.


User currently offlineBoeing4ever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 3482 times:

If Eastern Airlines didn't die...

Everyone would drink Eastern Airlines Cola,
Everyone would get around in their very own Eastern Airlines Skybuggies,

But don't stop there, cuz at Eastern Airlines would domination is our ultimate goal.

Perhaps it was better that they did die.  Big grin  Laugh out loud

B4e-Forever New Frontiers


User currently offlineBN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5620 posts, RR: 51
Reply 20, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 3477 times:

LOL....thx DFWCapt! That was a gut-buster!

One more thing...so help me, this is true. It was 1988, a year before the strike. My father and his crew were riding a hotel courtesy van in New York with an Aeroflot crew. The Russians were sharing stories about how terrible things are at their company: no dispatch support, spotty maintenance, non-existent aircraft servicing, dirt runways, bad schedules, bad pay, etc, etc. My father's first officer whistled and said something along the lines of, "gee, you guys really have it rough."

The Aeroflot captain shrugged and replied, "it's not as bad as working for Frank Lorenzo...."

And you're right Gordon saved CO. Lorenzo had CO on the same path as Eastern.

Eastern also had a mid-continent base at MCI (flew thru there as much as ATL to get to NYC/DCA). So If they were around today...the bases I believe would have been ATL, MIA,MCI and SJU.
and done with:
The largest 717 fleet around.
Would have 'made' Boeing stretch it and add some range to it (no 737s)
757-200s
757-300s
A330-200s
A330-300s
and yes 777-200s



"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
User currently offlineStevenUhl777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3432 times:

DFWCapt:

Well said...on BOTH counts! Lorenzo also had Elizabeth Dole under his thumb...can anyone try to explain why the SEA-AA), Japan">NRT route was taken away from United and given to Continental? I sure can't. Ironically, CO failed, AA bought it, AA eventually failed on it too, and now UA has it back! Ha Ha!

Along the lines of the Aeroflot crew's comments....on the Berlin Wall, there was a picture taken showing "Lorenzo" with the red circle around it and a line through it! I recall seeing that in an IAM (the union Charlie Bryan was a leader of) publication in 1989 sometime.

Bethune REVIVED Continental, but today they're not the picture of perfect health, either. Enron's collapse didn't help their cause in IAH, that's for sure!


User currently offlineSccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5615 posts, RR: 28
Reply 22, posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 3363 times:

Oops, reality check time... again.

If Texas Air had not bought CO in '81, there would have been no CO for Bethune to save when he came on the scene.

Read my post above. Recognize that Francisco Lorenzo eventually got too aggressive, had to go... but that was after he saved CO, and managed to preserve thousands of jobs for employees of the failed Frontier (including honoring seniority) and near-dead PeoplExpress.

It is always useful to have a readily-identifiable demon to blame; sometimes, that helps the true culprits to hide in the shadows.

BTW, DFWCapt, no one called you a communist; I merely drew the parallel to soviet history books, known for revisions to reality to suit political purposes, because a ready reference to Aeroflot had been made.



...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineDFWCapt From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 33 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3326 times:

Sccutler wrote: "Apt, it appears, that an earlier post in this thread mentions the soviets- they, too, were adept at reinventing history to serve a political purpose or to avoid reality."

Sccutler, since you're a lawyer and private pilot who apparently had no direct interest in the Eastern debacle, you can avoid reality all you want. I didn't have that luxury.

Lorenzo was...and is...a crook. He turned Continental into a nightmare...but this thread isn't about Continental, is it? We're talking about Eastern. If you agree that Lorenzo "had to go," then what are we arguing for?

If not for (1) Lorenzo's shady business practices, and (2) Bush's veto of the PEB, Eastern might have made it through to the end of the century in one form or another. Not even Lorenzo's peers disagree with this.

So who should we blame? Still think all those pilots, F/A's and mechanics threw their jobs (and often careers) away for the sheer glee of it?


User currently offlineSccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5615 posts, RR: 28
Reply 24, posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3257 times:

Thankfully, Cap'n, I never said that they had done so, and would be stunningly callous if I had. I still have grave concerns about the motivations at the head of the IAM, but that is all purely academic at this point in anay event. My significant experience in labor union behavior has shown me, time and again, that the people at the top of the union will frequently take action which is decidedly not inthe best interests of the rank-and-file members.

There can be no doubt that Frank Lorenzo pushed too far, and should not have been in the business as long as he was, but his actions as regards the airlines as a whole were not universally evil, as is generally published these days (most notably, on these boards). He clearly lost perspective, lost the ability to distinguish "when to say when," and (most importantly) lost whatever credibility he may have possessed with the employees and the industry. For that, he is effectively precluded from the industry for life.

It is, hypothetically, possible that EAL could have survived on its own, had everything possible gone right (the same could be said for Braniff, Pan Am, TWA, etc. etc. ad infinitum). It is also, realistically, profoundly improbable that it would have done so. It's finanicial condition prior to the Texas Air acquisition was so precarious that its immediate survival was, even then, seriously in doubt; the airline was already in breach of virtually every significant financing covenant it had agreed to and, absent a very deep pocket's assistance, in that capital market, from where would further working capital have come? It is the height of speculation to suggest that a Presidential Emergency Board could have "saved" Eastern- the fundamental structural problems being suffered by EAL had worked, for years, to drag its essential value as an airline to being (by itself) nil.

I, too, have suffered through the failure of a business which I firmly expected would be my employer for my entire career; used to be, people could expect that. Even now, the chances of an airline employee of doing so are greater than those of a worker in nearly any other arena, other than government work. I (like tens of thousands of employees of failed businesses every year) had to adapt and move on. There is nothing fun about losing your job, whether singly or as one of thousands. But when businesses are simply poorly-run, as the Great Silver Fleet had been for years, they will sometimes fall. I took no joy in EAL's failure at the time, take none now. And, I have no great love for Francisco L or his ways of dealing with people and business. I do, however, view the historical facts in as balanced a way as I can manage, and I am always ready, and eager, to learn new things and change my mind.



...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
25 Greg : Unlike Sccutler I was not as apathetic of Eastern going under--there was a part of me that relished that the mechanics got exactly what they deserved-
26 Sccutler : Greg- Nice point. Drop a line some time. It can easily be argued that the IAM killed Eastern as a payback for Continental's innovative use of the bank
27 DFWCapt : If the IAM "killed Eastern as a payback for Continental's innovative use of the bankruptcy laws to save the carrier," why did ALPA and the flight atte
28 Sccutler : Both? Certainly. And circumstances. And an airline industry structured for a different time and business model. Bottom line was still bad, there can b
29 Laxintl : Prior to EA's demise, there was very serious tought of acquiring either the MD-80 or the 737-300 to start replacement of the 727 and DC-9 fleets. Texa
30 DFWCapt : Eastern had a choice between DC-9-81's and 757-225's. The 757's were chosen because of an expected explosion in Jet-A prices. The explosion never came
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