Eastern Air Lines went away in 1991, but its name and logo are still out there, and they may be coming back.
A group of investors in Florida that owns the rights to the trademarks has filed an application at the Transportation Department (DOT) for permission to start a new charter airline that would use the old Eastern name and other intellectual property.
The application states that the company hopes to begin service with one leased A320 aircraft, expanding to a three-aircraft fleet within a year of launching operations. It did not apply to operate scheduled routes.
The key figure in the enterprise is Edward Wegel, the CEO and founder of Aviation Capital Partners Group, an entity that acquired Eastern's logo and various trademarks.
According to his resume, between 2004 and 2008, Wegel was the CEO and "chief restructuring officer" of One Travel Holdings, a Texas company that went into bankruptcy after the demise of one of its subsidiaries, FS SunTours (formerly SunTrips).
The resume filed with the DOT also states that in the early 1990s, Wegel was a founding board member and senior vice president of finance for Atlantic Coast Airlines, a regional carrier that operated as United Express at the Washington Dulles hub and later tried, and failed, to operate on its own as Independence Air.
Between 1995 and 1997, he served as COO of the airline of Trinidad and Tobago, then known as BWIA and now flying as Caribbean Airlines.
The financing plan for the new Eastern envisions a private placement of stock valued at between $9 million and $14 million, with Wegel and his Aviation Capital Partners Group holding some 22.5% of the equity.
Holding nearly 30% would be 1848 Capital Partners, a Miami private equity group headed by Joseph DaGrosa, the vice chairman of Jet Support Services, a provider of maintenance programs for business jet aircraft and engines.
Also part of the startup team as the CFO is former Alamo vice president James Tolzien, who was with Around the World Travel (TravelLeaders) in Coral Gables, Fla., as CFO and later president between 2000 and 2007.
The resume submitted to the DOT also notes his affiliation between 1997 and 1999 with Dancing Bear Investments, described as a "private investment vehicle with over $100 million invested in early-stage businesses focused on Internet-based marketing/sales delivery systems in travel, automobile sales and personal communications."
Travel Weekly's archives indicate that Tolzien also served during this period as president of IntelleTravel, a network of home-based agents backed by former Alamo chairman Mike Egan, who was the owner of Dancing Bear.
Serving as executive chairman is retired admiral William Owens, a one-time commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet and a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.