Once considered one of the "big four" US carriers, along with US, Delta and US carriers, it was innovative and very successful, during a six-decade evolution to the world's second-largest airline.
Tracing its origins to Pitcairn Aviation, which was formed on September 15, 1927, the following year opened an air mail service between Brunswick, Nev. Jersey and Atlanta, with the PA-5 Mailvings cabin open.
But North American Aviation, a holding company for several new carriers and aircraft manufacturers, bought the company a year later and, changing its name to Eastern Air Transport, opened a Ford-4-AT Trimotors passenger transportation service on a multi-sector jump from Nevark to Washington through Camden , Baltimore, Washington and Richmond August 18, 1930. The acquisition of Curtiss Condor enabled him to extend the route to Atlanta.
After absorbing Ludington Air Lines three years later, it was able to incorporate the New York-Philadelphia-Washington triplet into its system.
Eastern growth, like many other carriers, was accelerated by the Air Mail Act of 1934, which involved awarding state contracts to private mail companies, while US Post Office selected them based on an offer submitted in competition with others . Although this triggered the establishment of start-up line companies to operate air mail routes in the hope of being selected, the separation of the joint ownership of aircraft manufacturers and carriers at the time was also required.
Bypassing the restriction imposed on him as a result of attending a spoils conference with Postmaster-General Walter Folger Browne, in 1934, Eastern Air Transport changed its name to what it will be known through history, the Eastern Air Lines.
Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, a World War I flying ace who won the Congressional Medal of Honor, purchased a carrier from the North American Aviation Holding for $ 800,000 and took over the helm, implementing an aircraft modernization program.
Building his famous Great Silver Fleet, he quickly replaced the slow-moving Curtiss Condor biplanes with fully metallic Douglas DC-2s, one of which first landed at a new Washington airport in 1941. Leaving its mark in the growing East Wide Cab Miami, 1937 DC-3 21-passenger.
Like many US airlines, whose growth was interrupted by the necessity of World War II and the requisition of its aircraft for military purposes, the East began its own military support flights in 1942, connecting the three states of Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas, extending its wings to Trinidad, the Caribbean and finally forming his military transport section from Miami, for which he purchased the Curtiss C-46 Commandos.
The seeds for its pioneering, three-city shuttle for the Northeast were planted two years later when the Civil Aviation Board (CAB) awarded it the New York-Boston route across America.
The technological advances of the 1950s, expressed in range, payload, speed, comfort and increased safety, had occurred so rapidly that, by the time the aircraft was manufactured, its replacement was already on the drawing board.
The four-engine DC-4 soon supplemented the 39 two-engine DC-3, and its network now included Detroit, St. Louis and Lu, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The constellation Lockheed L-649, opened for use in 1947, has become the super-constellation L-1049 of higher capacity, replacing its Nev Iork-Miami route since December 17, 1951. Martin 4-0-4s DC-3s and in the middle of the decade, the first DC-7Bs performed the Eastern Lyric.
The acquisition of Colonial Airlines gave him access to New York State, New England, Canada, Bermuda and Mexico City.
The prophet took the form of a four-engine Lockheed L-188 Electra, which was commissioned on January 12, 1959 between Nev York and Miami, and a purebred jet in the shape of a four-engine Douglas DC-8 a year later was soon supplemented by a Boeing 720 of smaller capacity. but at higher cruise speed.
Eastern was the first of four major U.S. carriers to operate the 727-100 three-jet "Vhisperliner" – specifically, the Philadelphia-Washington-Miami and dual-jet DC-9-10.
The famous New York-Boston-Washington Air Hour Clock was launched on April 30, 1961 by the L-188 Electra, for which it advised, “No need to book. Just & shov; go. ; All sections are with spare planes, which provide a place for everyone to wait at the scheduled departure time. "
Sunday one-day prices were $ 69.00 for Boston and $ 42.00 for Washington, while round-trip weekend prices were $ 55.00 for adults and $ 37.00 for children both.
The shuttle was eventually operated by DC-9-30, 727-200 and A-300 aircraft.
Breaking its former shores of the East Coast in the late 1960s, it expanded to Seattle and Los Angeles on the West Coast, to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas with the acquisition of Mackei Airvais, and to several Caribbean islands after the acquisition of Caribbean.
Passing the torch to another famous space figure, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker relinquished control to Colonel Frank Borman, who orbited Earth in Gemini VII in 1966 and a month in Apollo VIII two years later.
Eastern entered the era of wide-ranging coupling with the Lockheed L-1011-1 TriStar in 1972, becoming the first U.S. carrier to operate the European Airbus Industrie A-300 in 1978 when it commissioned 23, and was also a major client of the Boeing 757- 200.
After acquiring Braniff International's Latin American routes in 1982 and establishing a hub in San Juan, it became the world's second largest carrier by annual number of passengers after Aeroflot, establishing hubs in New York, Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami and San Juan and uttering a slogan "We have to earn our wings every day."
But while he may have earned his wings, he did not necessarily earn a profit to support their raising. Debt from the purchase of the aircraft needed for its expansion and labor disputes required the purchase of $ 615 million by Tekas Air Holdings, which also owned Continental, in 1986, with Eastern becoming fodder. The planes were sold. Employees were laid off. The property was transferred to Continental. And his image quickly deteriorated, especially when he virtually eliminated service in the summer to reduce costs.
Declaring bankruptcy in 1989 and ceasing operations two years later, on January 19, the one-off "human wings" became Icarus deregulations after six decades.