Line up of planes at FLL – Photo: Maarten Visser | Flickr CC
Although Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is a mere 21 miles north of its huge cousin, Miami International Airport (MIA), it’s worlds apart in its focus and business model. FLL is a hub for low-cost carriers (LCCs) and ultra-low-cost carriers (ULCCs), and funnels passengers to nearby Port Everglades, one of the busiest cruise ship terminals in the world. In 2014, FLL saw almost 25 million passengers use its facilities, led by ULCCs and LCCs Allegiant, JetBlue, Southwest, Virgin America, and Spirit, which is based at FLL.
Trans-Atlantic LCC, Norwegian Air Shuttle, also serves FLL with Boeing 787s. A number of U.S., Canadian, and Latin American airlines also provide non-stop scheduled service to FLL, along with seasonal charter carriers.
“We complement MIA,” says Allan Siegel, FLL’s Community Outreach Coordinator. “But our landing fees are lower, so our airlines are saving significant costs. That makes us attractive to the LCCs, and in 2014, LCCs handled 62% of our total traffic.” The airport’s traffic has grown steadily, up 25% in 10 years, but that growth led to capacity issues, driven by FLL’s configuration.
Eastern Air Lines’ first 737-800 flies over Miami – Photo: Airways News
This story was originally published by Chris Sloan and Luis Linares on AirwaysNews.com
Nearly 24 years after the original Eastern shut down on January 18, 1991, the new Eastern Air Lines welcomed home its first new aircraft on December 19. Ex-Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800 “The Spirit of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker,” N276EA, arrived from Shannon, Ireland (SNN) via Portsmouth, New Hampshire (PSN) into the airline’s base at Miami International Airport at 3:13 p.m. local time on Runway 8R to a water cannon salute.
The flight crew outside of EAL’s first 737 in Miami – Photo: AirwaysNews
EXTRA: Flashback Friday; The History of Eastern Air Lines
The fanfare reached far beyond that of a traditional airline launch, particularly in Miami. Miami was the original Eastern’s headquarters, and the carrier was the city’s largest employer from the mid-1970s until its 1991 shutdown. It was evident that the event and ceremony were an emotional, tear-felt occasion for the new team, and especially for the retirees and former employees of the original Eastern. Their turnout was quite moving.
A water cannon salute at MIA greets Eastern’s 737 – Photo: AirwaysNews
The airline has 10 Boeing 737-800s on order, with purchase rights on 10 737 MAX 8s. Moreover, the company announced in July 2014 that it had placed an order for 20 Mitsubishi MRJ90s, with rights for an additional 20 of the regional jets. Eastern starts flying in March 2015 and will initially operate as a charter carrier, with scheduled operations due to begin in the next 12 to 18 months following FAA certification.
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