Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was a World War I flying ace who led Eastern Airlines in its early years. Eastern was one of the big four airlines created by the “Spoils Conference,” where airlines colluded with the federal government to carve up the market by allocating air mail subsidies. Eastern became a dominant carrier up and down the East Coast.
Eastern Air Lines L-188 Electra N5512 by Piergiuliano Chesi. CC BY-SA 3.0
Eastern struggled in the 1980s under the leadership of former astronaut Frank Borman as the carrier faced lower cost competition post-deregulation from airlines like People Express (whose Newark hub formed the basis for what’s now United’s operating base there). Eventually in the mid-80s Eastern sold to Frank Lorenzo’s Texas Air, which acquired Continental and People Express which had acquired Frontier and also owned New York Air.
A key to Lorenzo’s desire for Eastern was the SystemOne reservation system Eastern owns, a decision we all live with today because it’s how Continental wound up owning its own system and why their management decided to keep SHARES rather than utilizing the superior United Airlines software after taking over that larger airline.
Much of Eastern was absorbed by Delta as a result of the airline’s bankruptcy that followed labor unrest in the late 1980s and into 1991. The Eastern brand, however, was retired — temporarily.
The Eastern intellectual property was purchased in 2011, and three years laterit began charter service out of Miami using Boeing 737-800s. They focused on flights to Cuba and the Caribbean, and they had an aircraft painted in Star Trek: Beyond livery that became the campaign plane for Vice President Mike Pence. (The Obama administration’s liberalizing of travel restrictions to Cuba led to competition on Eastern’s Cuba routes and financial struggles.)
Source: Eastern Airlines
They were acquired by Swift Air last summer. Swift Air shares a common partial owner with Dynamic International Airways and now that Dynamic has exited bankruptcy they’re going to rebrand with the Eastern name.
The third version of Eastern is proposing to operate its Boeing 767s under the Eastern brand. The company wants to grow the 767 fleet to around 10 aircraft.
The first Eastern-branded 767 is expected soon once all approvals have been obtained.
I’m not sure that ‘Dynamic International Airways’ resonates with consumers. However it’s alno not obvious that there’s more than a few dozen people that would choose an airline based on the name Eastern. It’s been nearly 30 years since the ‘real’ Eastern flew, and it didn’t have a good reputation even then — for reliability, for service, or even for safety (having received the largest fine in aviation history for safety-related violations, until a larger one was leveled on American 19 years after Eastern’s collapse).