|Website||Eastwind Airlines (defunct)|
Eastwind Airlines was a start-up airline formed in mid-1995 and headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey, United States, and later in Greensboro, North Carolina. Jim McNally, a former Price Waterhouse analyst who had headed that firm's recovery teams when several other airlines sought management and investment help, founded the airline. McNally's paper airline found a benefactor in UM Holdings, a Haddonfield, New Jersey-based investment company, which provided investment capital.
The airline began in August 1995. Eastwind chose Trenton as no major airlines served Trenton and the airline believed that it could attract passengers from Philadelphia and New York City. The headquarters moved to Greensboro in 1996 after Continental Airlines ended the Continental Lite operations in Greensboro.
The airline served destinations in the eastern U.S. including:
- Fort Lauderdale (Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport)
- Jacksonville, Florida (Jacksonville International Airport)
- Orlando (Orlando International Airport)
- Saint Petersburg (Saint Petersburg Clearwater International Airport)
- Tampa (Tampa International Airport)
- West Palm Beach (Palm Beach International Airport)
- Richmond (Richmond International Airport)
- Washington, DC area (Washington Dulles International Airport)
On June 9, 1996 Eastwind Airlines Flight 517, a Boeing 737-2H5 experienced a reported loss of rudder control while on approach to Richmond from Trenton. There was one minor injury to a flight attendant and no damage to the airplane as a result of the incident. At the time of the event the airplane's airspeed was about 250 knots and at 4,000 feet MSL. On approach the crew experienced unexpected movement of the rudder causing the airplane rolling to the right. The crew applied opposite rudder to keep the plane from rolling over. Thirty-seconds later the plane righted itself back to normal flight. As the crew performed the emergency checklist the plane again rolled over to the right. Another thirty-seconds went by before the plane snapped back to level. The crew declared an emergency and landed safely in Richmond. Investigation of this incident would later help solve two other mysterious accidents: United Airlines Flight 585 and USAir Flight 427.
Due to the short runway at Trenton-Mercer Airport, the airline served Philadelphia for a short time, but consolidated its flights back to Trenton, New Jersey in early 1999 when Delta Air Lines terminated their contract to handle ground services.
The airline's financial situation deteriorated when two new Boeing 737-700 aircraft were purchased in 1997. Service issues created tension with its customers, resulting in large numbers of complaints filed with the FAA. In 1999, two passengers in Greensboro who feared being stranded in Greensboro refused to get off an airplane forcing the captain to call authorities.
While the airline's management refused to file for bankruptcy, in October 1999, three creditors filed a petition for involuntary bankruptcy in an effort to force the airline to liquidate. The airline ceased all operations shortly afterwards. The two 737-700s were acquired by Southwest Airlines and Shanghai Airlines, while the three 737-200s were withdrawn from the fleet and permanently retired (one remains in storage, and the rest were scrapped in 2000).
Thanksgiving Day 1998
On the morning of Thanksgiving Day 1998 passengers in Boston were greeted at Eastwind check-in counter with simple sign reading "Indefinite Delay" and no staff present whatsoever. Most passengers were accommodated by other airlines for minimal fees.
- "IN BRIEF; Trenton-Based Airline To Add Florida Flights," The New York Times
- "Eastwind struggles in turbulent times," The Business Journal
- "The fledgling: tiny Eastwind Airlines fights for flights, spreading its wings at Piedmont Triad International Airport." Business North Carolina. 2.
- "The fledgling: tiny Eastwind Airlines fights for flights, spreading its wings at Piedmont Triad International Airport." Business North Carolina. 3.
- The fledgling: tiny Eastwind Airlines fights for flights, spreading its wings at Piedmont Triad International Airport." Business North Carolina. 4.
- "NEW JERSEY DAILY BRIEFING;New Flights to Atlanta," The New York Times
- "Eastwind ousts execs," Orlando Business Journal
- "The fledgling: tiny Eastwind Airlines fights for flights, spreading its wings at Piedmont Triad International Airport." Business North Carolina. 6.
- Eastwind ousts execs - Orlando Business Journal:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eastwind Airlines.|
- Eastwind Airlines Website Circa 1998 (Courtesy of Archive.org)
-  Eastwind Airlines timetable