East-West Airlines

IATA Code: EW

ICAO Code: EWA

Known As: East-West Airlines

Full Name: East-West Airlines Ltd.

Country: Australia

Call sign: Eastwest




Objects in Collection







Brief History


On 14 September, 1946, a meeting of 14 people was held at the Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, where it was decided to form an airline, with the nominal capital of £50,000 & a paid-up capital of £10,000.
On 23 December, the Anson Holding Company, taking over from the Anson Holding Syndicate, was founded, by Basil Brown & Edward ‘Ted’ Wilkinson.

During 1946, Wollongong & South Coast Aviation Service Pty. Ltd. was founded.

In early-1947, Basil Brown announced that a new company, East-West Airlines, would be formed, which would take over all the assets of the Anson Holding Company. On 23 June, the Anson Holding Company operated its first scheduled flight between Tamworth & Sydney, using Avro Anson VH-ASM; with Capt. John Rentell & 7 passengers.
This was initially a 3-times-weekly service, but was later daily.

On 11 July, the Anson Holding Company changed its name to East-West Airlines Ltd. & the new company was registered, with a nominal capital of £25,000 & a paid-up capital of £16,937. During early-September, VH-ASM was joined by Anson VH-AYI, which had, in fact, being the 1st Anson converted by East-West, but was delayed by a D.C.A. demand that a flight deck bulkhead be fitted.

On 06 September, an official ‘opening ceremony’ was held at Tamworth Aerodrome for the new airline & the Tamworth-Sydney service. The official opening was made by the Director General of Civil Aviation.
At that ceremony VH-ASM was named ‘Hinkler’& VH-AYI was named ‘Smithy’.

On 30 September, East-West Airlines Ltd. was granted a full airline licence, to operate between Tamworth & Sydney.
During November, East-West Airlines applied for licences to operate between Sydney & Armidale, Brisbane, Glen Innes, & Moree. On 22 December, East-West’s 3rd Avro Anson, VH-EWA (later VH-EWZ), began operations.  Ansons VH-BBI & VH-BKL joined the fleet in April, 1948 & VH-BDO on 18 August, 1948.
During 1947, Wollongong & South Coast Aviation Service Pty. Ltd. began operations.

On 19 April, 1948, East-West Airlines commenced Tamworth-Glen Innes-Brisbane services, after conducting a survey flight on 10 April.  This meant that it now indirectly operated Sydney-Brisbane. The 1st service ex-Brisbane operated 20 April.
During the financial year, ending 30 June, East-West flew 7,632 passengers & 7,473kg of freight.
On 29 November, East-West Airlines commenced services from Armidale north to Glen Innes & Brisbane & south to Tamworth, Scone & Sydney.

On 05 March, 1949, East-West Airlines announced the purchase of six 2nd-hand, ex-RAAF, Lockheed 414 Hudsons, from Macquarie Grove Flying Service, Camden for a total of £6,000, including 15 spare engines & other spares.  Of the 6 aircraft, only A16-112 (later VH-BNJ & VH-EWA) was ever operated by East-West.  East-West had considered the purchase of Hudsons as early as June 1948. They took no action then, but chartered Curtis Madsen Aircrafts' Hudson VH-JCM on 18 January, 1949, to help move stranded passengers, when continuing rain disrupted Anson operations at Tamworth & had received very positive passenger feedback.  East-West purchased Curtis Madsen Airlines’ two Hudsons (VH-JCM [reregistered VH-EWE]), & VH-BKY [reregistered VH-EWB]), on 20 November, 1950.

During June, East-West commenced a car connection for Inverell to/from Glenn Innes.
During the financial year, ending 30 June, East-West flew 19,196 passengers & 47,959kg of freight & made a loss of £6,260.
On 12 October, Anson VH-BDO crashed & was written-off at Tamworth, in what was East-West’s first accident..  VH-BAB was temporarily leased from Queensland Airlines, to cover its operations.

During November, Wollongong & South Coast Aviation Service Pty. Ltd. was renamed South Coast Airways Pty. Ltd.
On 23 December, VH-BNJ operated East-West Airlines' first Lockheed Hudson commercial service, Tamworth-Sydney.  It was reregistered VH-EWA 21 March, 1951.
    
On 17 June, 1950, Hudson VH-BNJ operated East-West's first night-time Tamworth-Sydney flight.
During the financial year, ending 30 June, East-West flew 22,282 passengers & 125,113kg of freight & made a loss of £11,096.
In late-December, Lockheed Hudsons VH-EWB (ex-VH-BKY, later VH-EWS) & VH-EWE (later VH-EWR) joined the fleet.  With the arrival of the Hudsons, service to Armidale was relegated to a bus connection at Tamworth & Inverell a bus connection at Glen Innes.

During 1950, South Coast Airways began feeder services from Sydney to its south & west.  It initially served Jervis Bay, but later added Cowra, West Wyalong & Wollongong.

On 14 May, 1951, Lockheed Hudson VH-EWE operated East-West Airlines' 1st Sydney-Gunnedah-Sydney services.  The licence for the services had been granted the previous February.
During the financial year, ending 30 June, East-West flew 20,284 passengers & 125,298kg of freight & made a loss of £6,378.
On 27 October, VH-EWZ flew the last scheduled East-West Airlines’ Avro Anson service, when it operated Tamworth-Armidale-Glen Innes & return.  As Armidale, despite providing EWA with revenue of up to £200 per week, could not support Lockheed Hudsons, services to Armidale were replaced by a car connection from/to Tamworth & Glenn Innes until 08 December, 1956, after which an upgrading of Armidale Airport permitted DC-3 operations there; from 10 December.  The remaining Ansons were sold.                         

By 1952, Lockheed Hudsons operated 17 return Tamworth-Sydney-Tamworth services per week.
During the financial year, ending 30 June, East-West flew 26,403 passengers & 163,397kg of freight & made a loss of £6,128.  By the end of the 1952 financial year, the Company’s finances were in a precarious state, with accumulated losses of £27,453 & no working capital.  A 4-year plan was prepared, to expand services & to move up to DC-3 aircraft.

During the financial year, ending 30 June, 1953, East-West flew 28,533 passengers & 356,066kg of freight & made a profit of £6,374 - its 1st real profit.  This turn-around was put down to the 3 Hudsons vs. the Ansons.
On 01 April, Lockheed Hudson VH-EWA was damaged at Mascot & never returned to East-West service, putting a severe strain on the airline to maintain full services.

On 13 May, DC-3 VH-AEQ, chartered from TAA, as part of a 12-18-month DC-3 charter arrangement, entered EWA service on the Sydney-Gunnedah-Tamworth-Sydney route.
On 22 July, East-West Airlines first DC-3, VH-EAM, bought from QANTAS Empire Airways Ltd., arrived at Tamworth.  It was reregistered VH-EWA in September.

On 01 August, East-West Airlines purchased South Coast Airways Pty. Ltd. & it became an East-West subsidiary.  South Coast operated Sydney to Cowra & West Wyalong.  Avro Anson VH-BFN, their sole remaining Anson, was transferred to East-West’s fleet.  East-West began Sydney-Cowra operations on 03 August, using DC-3 VH-EAM.

On 03 August, East-West’s first DC-3, VH-EAM, Sydney-Tamworth.  A new timetable saw it operating Sydney-Cowra 6 times weekly, plus the majority of Tamworth services, some via Gunnedah, where it connected with Hudson flights to Glen Innes & Brisbane.  West Wyalong was served by Hudsons, direct from/to Sydney.  EWA announced that the new timetable allowed the carrying of 1,427 passenger, on 76 scheduled flights per week. During November, work commenced on the new airport at Tamworth.

On 04 January, 1954, a new timetable provided a 20% increase of DC-3 services Sydney-Tamworth-Gunnedah, plus a small increase in Cowra services, although the Lockheed Hudsons were still fully utilised.
On 15 January the new Tamworth Airport unsealed runway was licensed for limited DC-3 operations.  EWA’s management & Tamworth dignitaries flew, in VH-EWA, from the old airport to the new airport – taking a whole 2 minutes flying-time & 8 minutes block-time.  EWA announced that they hoped to move to the new airport within 12 months, after completion of the new terminal, offices & 2 hangars.

By Autumn, Tamworth was being served by 10 return DC-3 flights weekly; 3 via Gunnedah & Cowra.
On 10 November, a Board Meeting announced plans to raise £45,787 in a new share issue, to existing shareholders, to assist with the acquisition of a 2nd DC-3 aircraft.

On 18 February, 1955, East-West’s 2nd DC-3 VH-AEZ was purchased from TAA; with payments scheduled over 2 years & delivered to East-West Airlines the same day.  It was reregistered VH-EWD on 10 March.
On 14 June, East-West’s 3rd DC-3 VH-EWF (ex-VH-AER) entered service.  That allowed DC-3s to take over most of the services to/from Glen Innes & 2 of the 3 extensions to Brisbane, from EWA’s Hudsons.
On 28 June, VH-EWD operated East-West's 1st DC-3 service Tamworth-Glen Innes-Brisbane.
On 12 August, East-West ceased its car connection for Inverell to/from Glenn Innes, after East-West battled Ansett for route licence, which they won.

On 15 August, East-West Airlines commenced services to Inverell from Sydney (7 services weekly) & Brisbane (2 services weekly) & extended their Sydney-Cowra service to Cootamundra.
On 19 August, East-West Airlines commenced a DC-3 service Tamworth-Inverell-Glen Innes-Coolangatta (on Fridays, with the return service on Saturdays).

On 22 August, East-West Airlines re-introduced a Tamworth-Newcastle service, using Lockheed Hudsons, 4 times per week.  The 1st service was operated by VH-EWE.
During 1955 & in later years, East-West chartered Lockheed Hudson VH-SMM for unknown periods.
By September, DC-3s had replaced Lockheed Hudsons on all but 2 return Tamworth-Sydney-Tamworth services per week.  The Hudson last appeared in their scheduled timetable in the 1st half of 1956.

On 22 November, East-West commenced services to/from Port Macquarie.  They lasted until 26 February, 1989.
At year’s end, heavy rain drenched N.S.W. & continued for some 6 months, causing severe disruptions to many of East-West’s services.
     
During the financial year ending 30 June, 1956, East-West Airlines lost £25,330, mainly due to the massive floods in the New England area.
On 02 March, the floods forced East-West Airlines to move to the new Tamworth Airport, before the passenger lounge was complete.  A temporary lounge, in a hangar, was used initially.
Between July & December, East-West’s three DC-3s (VH-EWA, EWD & EWF) were converted from 21 to 28 seats (7 rows x4 seats).

On 15 August, Cootamundra was officially dropped from the East-West network, after DC-3 VH-EWD had become hopelessly bogged there, during taxying, after the continuing record rains.
During October, Gunnedah Aerodrome, which had been badly affected by flooding, re-opened.
On 08 December, the newly-reconstructed Armidale Aerodrome was officially re-opened.
On 10 December, the upgrading of Armidale Aerodrome permitted DC-3 operations there, replacing car connections to/from Tamworth & Glenn Innes, which had stopped 08 December.

VH-EWA operated the first service, plus the inaugural service to Temora & to the re-opened West Wyalong Aerodrome, which had been closed due to flood damage.
In December, Lockheed Hudson VH-EWE was reregistered VH-BPT & transferred to duties with the CSIRO; in anticipation of EWA becoming an all-DC-3 operator within 12 months.                

On 29 September, 1957, East-West Airlines began serving Quirindi.  VH-EWA operated the inaugural service.  3 flights were operated weekly, in conjunction with Tamworth & Gunnedah.
Throughout 1957, East-West’s remaining Lockheed Hudson, VH-EWB, look an increasingly less important rôle in operations.
All East-West Hudson operations had ceased by the end of the year.
On 31 December, East-West wrote to the DCA, seeking approval to convert their DC-3s to a 32-seat configuration.  Approval was received on 14 January, 1958, but for a maximum of 31 passengers & 1 hostess.

By January 1958, East-West Airlines served Sydney-Armidale, Sydney-Armidale-Inverell, Sydney-Cowra (with road connection to Young), Sydney-Gunnedah-Tamworth, Sydney-Inverell, Sydney-Inverell-Glen Innes, Sydney-Newcastle, Sydney-Quirindi-Gunnedah, Sydney-Quirindi-Tamworth, Sydney-Tamworth, Sydney-Tamworth-Armidale, Sydney-Tamworth-Inverell-Coolangatta-Brisbane, Sydney-Tamworth-Taree, Sydney-Taree-Port Macquarie (with road connection to Wauchope), Sydney-Temora-West Wyalong & Tamworth-Taree-Port Macquarie.
On 04 April, East-West Airlines commenced services Sydney-Lake Cargelligo-Condobolin services.  They initially operated Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays.

On 28 October, East-West commenced regular services to/from Warwick & Stanthorpe, operated by DC-3 VH-EWB.  They lasted until September 1965, with a car service to/from Stanthorpe, until its services ceased the next month.

During February, 1959, Ansett Transport Industries made an offer for the purchase of East-West Airlines, based on 8 ATI shares (worth approximately 56/-) for each East-West share.  The offer was rejected.
By August, East-West Airlines had begun linking Stanthorpe & Warwick with Sydney, Armidale, Brisbane & Coolangatta, using DC-3s.

On 26 August, East-West Airlines’ 1st Fokker F.27 Friendship, VH-EWA ‘City of Tamworth’ commenced operations, Tamworth-Sydney.  On its 1st day of operations, it operated Tamworth-Sydney-Tamworth-Quirindi-Sydney-Gunnedah-Tamworth.  In its 1st week of operations, it also operated to Cowra, Armidale, Inverell, Brisbane & Coolangatta; with Glen Innes being added later.
On 22 November, East-West began Brisbane-Coolangatta-Grafton-Newcastle-Sydney services, using F.27 VH-EWA.  The new Grafton Airport had just opened.  Grafton services ceased on 25 June, 1988.

As F.27s replaced DC-3s, services to Warwick & Stanthorpe ceased, as their airports were not upgraded to F.27 standard.  The DC-3 was withdrawn from East-West passenger services.
On 30 December, DC-3 VH-EWB was damaged at Mascot.

On 14 February, 1960, East-West Airlines began Sydney-Armidale-Grafton services, using F.27 VH-EWA.
During April, the first of many attempts by Ansett Transport Industries to take over East-West Airlines Ltd. was rejected.  (See Part 02D-2 for further information).
During 1960, East-West’s DC-3s were progressively repainted in a livery similar to the new F.27.  That was the first new livery since the introduction of the DC-3s.

On 31 March, 1962, East-West Airlines wound-up South Coast Airways & repurchased their two Hudsons.

On 03 July, 1963, East-West carried its one-millionth passenger.

During September, 1965, East-West ceased direct operations to/from Warwick.  They were temporarily replaced by a car connection services between Stanthorpe & Warwick, until services to/from Stanthorpe ceased the next month.
During October, East-West ceased services to/from Stanthorpe.  In addition to Stanthorpe & Warwick requiring airport upgrades, to support larger aircraft, East-West’s subsidy for essential rural services had been cut from $52,000 to $24,000; causing a re-arrangement of the points served & a reduction in the frequency of the remaining essential services.

During October, Intrastate Airlines Pty. Ltd., a subsidiary of Kwikasair Freight Lines, made a takeover offer to East-West Airlines Ltd., which was rejected twice. On 22 November, East-West commenced services to/from Kempsey.  They lasted until 25 June, 1988.
         
In January, 1967, a contract was signed with East-West Airlines Ltd. to maintain & operate aircraft for the New South Wales Health Commission. With the introduction of a new timetable on 03 October, East-West ceased all scheduled DC-3 passenger services & ceased services to Quirindi & Scone, with those services being taken over by Thunderbird Aviation.
On 31 October, East-West Airlines officially retired their remaining two  DC-3s (VH-EWB & VH-EWF) from passenger services.  VH-EWE had been handed over to the Department of Lands 02 February, 1966.
During December de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 100 VH-EWM entered service. It was specially fitted for a CSIRO cloud-seeding contract in Tasmania.

During the 1967-1968 financial year, earnings rose $702,228, for a total of $4,045,026.  However costs rose $698,638, to $3,940,938 &, after a depreciation provision of $488,418, net profit was $104,088; compared with $100,498 the previous year. There was little increase in passenger numbers & only a small gain in cargo carried.  With the addition of a 5th F.27, passenger load factor decreased from 59.4% to 55.3% and revenue load factor from 56.3% to 54.9%.  Income from charters & air tours increased 52%. & doubled for special projects & contracts.  Revenue was assisted by a 5% increase in air-fares & cargo rates & the doubling of Commonwealth Government subsidy to $50,000.

During early-March, 1970, East-West Airlines inaugurated 4-times-per-week (Tue/Thu/Fri/Sun) F.27 ‘Gold Coaster‘ flights between Sydney & Coolangatta.  VH-EWA operated the first service.
During September, East-West Airlines announced that it expected to decide its jet choice by the end of the month.  The choice was reported as being between the 74-89 seat BAC One-Eleven 475, the 75-80 seat DC-9 Series 10 & the Fokker F28 Mk. 1000, or Mk. 2000.  On 25 November, East-West Airlines Ltd. ordered one/optioned one BAC One-Eleven 475 jets, at a cost of some $3,600,000 each; with operations planned to commence 01 April, 1972.  However, the order was later cancelled, at least in part due to the cost of upgrading some N.S.W. country airports.

On 19 December, East-West Airlines inaugurated flights between Sydney & Maroochydore; initially on a weekly basis; after the route had been awarded in October.

During Financial Year 1971/72, East-West made a profit of $127,000, on Total Revenue of $7,355,000; carrying 327,270 passengers, on a route structure of 7,879km & Revenue Load Factor of 57.0%.

On 22 September, 1972, DC-3 VH-PWN was sold to Bush Pilots Airways Ltd.

On 06 March, 1973, East-West commenced a three-times-weekly Sydney-Alice Springs F.27 service.
From 01 April, East-West Airlines Ltd. took over the Adastra group of companies, including Adastra Airways P/L, for $233,316.  They were sold to Queensland Aerial Survey Co. P/L (QASCO) in 1976.
During Financial Year 1972/73, East-West made a profit of $188,000, on Total Revenue of $8,803.000; carrying 385,143 passengers, on a route structure of 9,190km & Revenue Load Factor of 61.0%.

On 30 September, VH-PNM flew East-West Airlines’ last DC-3 passenger flight, when it flew a charter Narromine-Albion Park-Tamworth.   It was sold to Connair on 03 October.

On 29 March, 1974, East-West Airlines acquired Civil Aerial Services Pty. Ltd.
From 15 June, East-West began weekly snow season F.27 operations Adelaide-Albury.  They were suspended on 28 September, but recommenced on 05 July, 1975.

During Financial Year 1973/74, East-West made a profit of $369,000, on Total Revenue of $11,298,000; carrying 437,142 passengers, on a route structure of 9,725km & Revenue Load Factor of 59.3%.

During 1974, East-West Airlines took over QANTAS’ Sydney to Norfolk Island service.

From 05 July, 1975, East-West recommenced weekly snow season F.27 operations Adelaide-Albury.  They were suspended on 27 September & never restarted.
During Financial Year 1974/75, East-West made a profit of $166,000, on Total Revenue of $1,4131,000; carrying 477,594 passengers, on a route structure of 9,725km & Revenue Load Factor of 59.4%.
During Financial Year 1975/76, East-West made a profit of $311,000, on Total Revenue of $16,482,000; carrying 442,923 passengers, on a route structure of 9,725km & Revenue Load Factor of 58.7%.

On 20 November, 1976, the long-dormant Pacific & Western Aviation Co. Ltd. was renamed East-West Airlines (Operations) Ltd. On 01 December, all operations, aircraft ownership, route licences, etc transferred to the new company.

On 01 March, 1977, East-West Airlines began services between Sydney & Norfolk Island, replacing QANTAS.
During Financial Year 1976/77, East-West made a profit of $738,000, on Total Revenue of $17,834,000; carrying 435,713 passengers, on a route structure of 11,405km & Revenue Load Factor of 60.3%.
During 1977, East-West Airlines was awarded a five-year contract by New South Wales Government, for aerial surveying & photographing of the state.      

On 01 August, 1978, East Coast Commuter Airlines was formed, with shareholders including John Roworth, of Tamair & East-West Airlines (26%).  As East-West had only a minority share in the airline, it has not been included in this document.  The formation of the company provided finance to purchase three Cessna Titan aircraft.  After Skywest Holdings' takeover of East-West, the shareholding was increased to 37.5%. & East-West co-operated more with the commuter airline, but never had financial, or operational, control.  After the Ansett takeover, East-West's shares in East Coast were sold to Australian Airlines.

On 30 May, 1980, East-West Airlines announced an order for 2 Fokker F28 Mk. 4000s, plus 3 options.
On 01 October, East-West Airlines began Norfolk Island-Auckland services, under a 2-year charter from QANTAS.

During 1981, East-West began a Newcastle (Williamtown)-Brisbane service.
By 1981, East-West was reportedly in serious trouble financially & continuing to lose money.  Brian Grey, then Executive Director Policy with Ansett, resigned & set up East-West Development Pty. Ltd,
to attempt to take over the ailing East-West.

On 03 February, 1982, East-West Airlines began Albury-Melbourne services, using F.27s.  The route had been transferred by TAA. During July, Hazelton Air Services began operating on the Orange-Sydney route, previously operated by East-West Airlines. On 16 August, East-West Development Pty. Ltd. assumed control of East-West Airlines.  Bryan Grey was appointed as Chief Executive of the airline & was given the right to purchase the balance of East-West Airlines' shares.  East-West Development Pty. Ltd. became the holding company & East-West Airlines (Operations) Ltd. a subsidiary company.  The total cost was a reported $8 million. During 1982, East-West Airlines began F.27 services from Melbourne to Devonport & Burnie/Wynyard.

During 1983, Brian Grey set about challenging the Two Airline Policy in the High Court.  The attempt failed.  East-West Airlines also sought Federal Government approval to import two 155-seat McDonnell Douglas MD-80s.  The request was refused.
On 09 March, East-West Airlines began operating a cheap ($120) return fare between Melbourne & Sydney & v.v., via Albury.
During April, East-West introduced their new ‘Green & Gold’ livery.  The first aircraft in the new livery were Fokker F28 Mk. 4000 VH-EWA & F.27 Mk. 500s VH-EWU & VH-EWV.

On 10 July, Fokker F28 Mk. 4000 VH-EWA operated East-West's last Brisbane-Norfolk Is.-Brisbane service.
On 05 August, East-West Airlines introduced F28 Mk. 4000 services Sydney-Alice Springs-Port Hedland-Karratha.
In the 12 months to 30 September, East-West increased its tonne-kilometres by some 29.8%, to 25,891 tonne-kilometres.
On 04 October, East-West Airlines introduced four times weekly F.27 services Melbourne-Mt. Gambier-Adelaide.  The service ceased 22 May, 1984, due to poor loadings.

By late-1983, East-West Airlines was reported to be suffering large financial losses.  Its cheap fares were obviously popular, but were presumably badly affecting its bottom line.
On 14 December, East-West Airlines began Sydney-Devonport F28 Mk. 4000 (72-passenger) services.
On 16 December, Skywest Holdings Pty. Ltd., which was a subsidiary of Griffin Holdings, purchased East-West Airlines Ltd. from East-West Development Pty Ltd. (Bryan Grey & his partner Duke Minks).
The purchase price was a reported $25 to $35 million, compared with the reported $8 million for the purchase of East-West in 1982.

In the year ending 31 December, East-West carried 576,000 passengers.
 

On 27 February, 1984, Skywest Airlines began Perth-Kalgoorlie & Perth-Geraldton services, using East-West F28s, in competition with Airlines of Western Australia.
On 29 November, East-West Airlines commenced services in Western Australia, with their inaugural flight from Perth to Port Hedland; operated Fokker F28s.
On 01 December, East-West Airlines commenced operating a Perth - Sydney service, via Uluru (Ayers Rock).  The routing was to avoid conflict with the Two Airlines Policy.
However, Ansett & TAA challenged EWA’s right to operate the route anyway.
In the year ending 31 December, East-West carried 656,000 passengers.     

On 24 May, 1985, Skywest Holdings announced the proposed merger of Skywest Airlines & East-West Airlines.  However, this never took place, although some schedule rationalisation took place.
During 1985, East-West Airlines Ltd. applied to the Federal Government to import a Boeing 737 Series 200 aircraft & a Fokker F28 Mk. 4000 Fellowship.  East-West ordered one 737-200 in March, for delivery in November, but the order was later cancelled.

In the year ending 31 December, East-West carried 938,000 passengers; a rise of some 43% over the previous year.  This was done with four F28 Mk. 4000s & seven F.27 Mk. 500s; giving them the highest aircraft utilisation rate in the world.

During July, 1986, East-West Airlines (Queensland) Ltd. was founded, to operate services within Queensland.
On 21 July, East-West Airlines began operations within Queensland, operating a Brisbane-Cairns F28 Mk. 4000 service (VH-EWB).

East-West reportedly lost approximately $10 million in 1986.

On 21 March, 1987, East-West Airlines began operating a Perth-Uluru (Ayers Rock)-Cairns service.
On 15 May, East-West Airlines announced plans to lease three 107-seat Fokker 100 jets from ILFC, in lieu of a planned lease of a Boeing 737-200; with deliveries in the first quarter of 1988.
Because of the takeover of East-West by TNT/News Corp, during July, 1987, they were never delivered.  However, their lease commitment remained until leased to Air uk in 1992.

In mid-1987 Skywest Aviation lost the Federal Government ‘Coastwatch’ contract; worth some $20 million.  This & the losses being incurred by East-West Airlines severely weakened Skywest Holdings.
By that stage East-West reportedly had accumulated losses of $90 million & debts of some $170 million.
On 17 July, Skywest Holdings Pty. Ltd. & its subsidiaries (including East-West Airlines, Skywest Airlines & Skywest Aviation) were acquired by the Perron Group.

On 31 July, Skywest Holdings Pty. Ltd. was acquired by Bodas Pty Ltd. (T.N.T./News Corp.) from the Perron Group.
On 10 November, the arrangements for the divestment of non-East-West trunk operations components of Skywest Holdings Pty. Ltd. were announced.  This involved divesting East-West’s N.S.W. intrastate operations, with the exception of the Sydney-Tamworth & Sydney-Albury services, plus East West's shares in Eastern Australia Airlines & a reduction of their shareholding in Lloyd Aviation (Queensland) to a minority interest.

East-West's engineering base at Tamworth was retained.  The airline’s operating costs were sharply reduced by integrating its management, maintenance, reservations department, etc into Ansett’s.

From February, 1988, ground-handling was handled by Ansett.  East-West Airlines check-in/aircraft weight & balance was soon incorporated into Ansett’s Ansaboard Departure Control System.
On 14 February, East West Airlines ceased operations at Burnie/Wynyard.
On 30 April, East-West Airlines ceased operations in Western Australia.
On 01 June, East-West Airlines Ltd. took over Air N.S.W.'s Norfolk Island services.
On 25 June, East-West ceased services to/.from Grafton & Kempsey.  Eastern Australia started J31 Jetstream operations the next day.  East-West was supposed to cease services 19 June, but Eastern Australia wasn’t ready.

On 17 July, East-West ceased service to Glenn Innes, Inverell & Taree.  Eastern Australia commenced J31 Jetstream operations the next day.
On 30 October, East-West Airlines commenced operations at Mackay, Proserpine, & Rockhampton.
On 05 November, East-West Airlines commenced operations at Mt. Isa.
During November the East-West Airlines crew lists were integrated into those of Ansett.

On 04 April, 1989, East-West terminated its services to Armidale; with the last service being operated by F.27 VH-EWP.  Eastern Australia commenced operations using Dash-8s.
In August, East-West Airlines ordered 8 BAe 146-300s, plus options on 4; with deliveries to commence in July 1990. 

On 04 September 1990, East-West Airlines (Operations) Ltd. was renamed Eastwest Airlines (Operations) Ltd. & holding company East-West Airlines Ltd. was renamed Eastwest Airlines Ltd.
Ansett sought to promote Eastwest as its discount, no-frills tourist airline.
On 05 September, VH-EWI operated Eastwest’s first BAe 146-300 commercial service, EW146 Sydney-Coolangatta.

On 18 July, 1991, Fokker F28 Mk. 4000 VH-EWB operated the final EW passenger F28 service, when it operated EW306 Sydney Tamworth.
On 18 September, it was announced that Eastwest’s Tamworth Maintenance Base would close.  It was closed in January 1992.
On 12 November, Eastwest's BAe 146-300 VH-EWN operated the airline's last flight into Tamworth- Flight EW2384 from Sydney.  At 08:05 it taxied & departed for the Gold Coast.
On the same date, Eastwest issued an advert saying goodbye & thanks to Tamworth; after 44 years of operations.

On 18 January, 1992, Eastwest began operating Boeing 727-277LR VH-ANE, in Eastwest colors, initially operating 4 return flights daily Sydney-Coolangatta-Sydney; replacing BAe 146 VH-EWN, which went to Ansett New Zealand.  VH-ANE remained with Eastwest until its services were merged into those of Ansett Australia on 31 October, 1993.
During January, the Tamworth Maintenance Base was closed.

On 07 May, it was announced that Eastwest Airlines would be merged into Ansett Australia, at some future date.
On 22 May, Boeing 727-277 VH-RMN began service with Eastwest.  It was withdrawn from service by Eastwest 18 April, 1993.
On 01 July, Eastwest’s administration, management & aircrew were absorbed into Ansett Australia.  However, Eastwest continued to operate as a separate airline, on a gradually-reducing basis.
On 12 July, BAe 146 VH-EWK was withdrawn from Eastwest service, before transferring to Ansett New Zealand.
On 04 November, BAe 146 VH-EWR was withdrawn from Eastwest service & repainted in Ansett Australia livery.

On 04 January, 1993, BAe 146 VH-EWS operated its last Eastwest service; operating Ansett Australia services from 17 January.

From 01 February, Ansett transferred their Melbourne-Hobart-Melbourne services to Eastwest, with EW operating 5 return flights daily.  BAe 146-300 VH-EWS operated the first EW return service on that date.
On 24 February, it was announced publically that Eastwest operations would cease as soon as practical; being merged into those of Ansett Australia.  That included the Eastwest Accounts Department at Tamworth.  47 jobs were lost at Tamworth.
On 18 April, Boeing 727-277 VH-RMN was withdrawn from service with Eastwest.

On 26 May, BAe 146 VH-EWI operated its last Eastwest service; operating Ansett Australia services from 27 May.
During June, Eastwest ceased Albury-Melbourne services, & BAe 146s VH-EWJ & VH-EWL were transferred to Ansett Australia.
In late-July, BAe 146 VH-EWM was withdrawn from EW service, & repainted in Ansett Australia colors.  It was transferred to Ansett Australia during August.

On 31 October, the remaining operations of Eastwest Airlines were merged into Ansett Australia’s.  Boeing 727-277LR VH-ANE returned to Ansett Australia.  Eastwest was officially wound-up on 31 December.
Eastwest Airlines (Operations) Ltd. never made a profit & had reportedly lost some $244 million in the previous 3 years.

On 01 January, 1994, Eastwest Airlines formally ceased to exist.

East-West/Eastwest served the following destinations, at some stage:

Adelaide, Albury, Alice Springs, Armidale, Auckland (for QANTAS), Bathurst, Boggabri, Brisbane, Burleigh Heads (road connection Coolangatta), Burnie/Wynyard, Cairns, Canberra, Condobolin, Coolangatta, Cowra, Devonport, Falls Creek (road connection Albury), Forbes (road connection Parkes), Glen Inness, Gunnedah (direct & road connection Tamworth), Grenfell (road connection Cowra), Hobart, Inverell, Karratha, Kempsey, Lake Cargelligo, Launceston, Mackay, Macksville (road connection Kempsey), Maroochydore, Melbourne, Molong (road connection Orange), Moree, Mt. Buffalo (road connection Albury), Mt. Gambier, Mt. Hotham (road connection Albury), Mt. Isa, Muswellbrook, Nambucca Heads (road connection Kempsey), Newcastle (Williamtown), Norfolk Island, Noosa Heads, Orange, Parkes, Perth, Port Hedland, Port Macquarie, Proserpine, Quirindi, Rockhampton, Scone, Southport (road connection Coolangatta), Stanthorpe, Surfers Paradise (road connection Coolangatta), Sydney, Tamworth, Taree, Temora, Tewantin (road connection), Toowoomba, Wangaratta (road connection Albury), Warwick, Wauchope, West Wyalong, Young (direct & road connection Cowra), & Uluru (Ayers Rock).
Fleet

Aero Commander - VH-KRA, PWO.

Avro 652A Anson I - VH-ASM, AYI, BAB, BBI, BDO, BFN, BKL, EWA(1), EWZ(1), plus AW451, AW661, EG392 & LT996, which were purchased, but never registered.

BAC One-Eleven 475 - One was ordered by East-West Airlines 26/11/70, for delivery early-1972.  A 2nd was optioned.
The order & option were both later cancelled.

BAe 146-300 - VH-EWI(2), EWJ(3), EWK(2), EWL(2), EWM(2), EWN(2), EWR(3), EWS(3), (EWT(3 & 4)).

Beech Baron - VH-SUV.

Beech King Air - VH-AMB(2), AMM, AMR.

Beech Queen Air - VH-AMB(1), AMD, AMG, AMQ, AMS, TGA.

Beech Twin Bonanza - VH-EWT.

Boeing 727-277 - VH-ANE(3), VH-RMN.

Boeing 737-200 - During 1985 East-West sought permission to import three 737-200s, for its Queensland services.  On 02/12/86 permission was granted to import one 120-seat all-Economy 737-200, for use on its Brisbane-Cairns services.  The proposed lease, from 03/87, was not taken up (as the required standard of aircraft, at an acceptable price, was not available), &, on 15/05/87, East-West announced its intentions to lease three Fokker 100s instead.

Boeing 737-33A - G-PATE.  During 1983, East-West was reportedly considering the Boeing 737-300 (& the DC-9-82) for long-haul domestic operations.

British Aircraft Eagle II - VH-UTG.

Butler ABA-2 Bat - VH-ARG - Probably never operated by East-West.

Cessna 310 - VH-REK, REL.
 
de Havilland D.H.82 - VH-AIZ, AKF, BCI, BMH, UZT.

DHC-6 Twin Otter - VH-EWM(2).

DHC-8 Dash 8 - East-West are reported to have placed a tentative order for two DHC-8s.  The ‘order’ did not proceed.

Douglas DC-3 - VH-AEQ, AER, AEZ, AGU, BZC, DAS, EAM, EWA(3), EWB(2), (EWC(2)), EWD(1), EWE(2), EWF(1), EWF(2), MIM, PWM, PWN, RRA, SBN, TAI

Douglas DC-9-80 - See under MD-80.

Fokker F.27 Friendship - VH-CAT, EWA(4), EWG(1), EWH(1), EWJ(1), EWK(1), EWL(1), EWN(1), EWO, EWP, EWQ, EWR(2), EWS(2), EWT(2), EWU, VH-EWV, VH-EWW, VH-EWX, VH-EWY, VH-EWZ(2), FND, MMB, TFF, TFH, TFK, TFL(2).
Fokker F28 Fellowship    VH-EWA(5 & 6), EWB(3 & 4), EWC(3), EWD(2), (EWE(3)), VH-EWF(3), EWG(2), EWH(2), FKI, FKJ, (FKK), (FKL), (FKN), FKO, (FKQ)
East-West Airlines also considered purchasing F28 Mk. 4000s (S2-ACH & S2-ACJ) from Bangladesh Biman Airlines in 1988.  They were not purchased.

Fokker 100 - (VH-EWH[3]), (VH-EWI), VH-EWJ(2) East-West announced 15/05/87 that three 107-seat F100s were to be leased, from ILFC, instead of 737-200s, with deliveries planned for the first quarter of 1988.  East-West stated that the price of 2nd-hand 737-200s had become overheated, causing them to re-evaluate the F100. East-West stated at that time that more F100s would follow. After East-West became part of ATI, the three F100s were no longer required.  However, ATI remained contractually committed to the lease until arrangements were made to lease the aircraft to Air uk 08-10/92.
Ansett Australia chartered Flight West’s VH-FWH on 24/11/99 & VH-FWH/FWI from 09/00.

Lockheed 414 Hudson - (VH-BKY), BNJ, BPT, EWA(2), EWB(1), (EWC(1)), EWE(1), EWR(1), EWS(1), JCM, SMM.
East-West Airlines also purchased A16-124 & four other ex RAAF aircraft, but never registered, or operated them.

Max Holste M.H. 260 - East-West Airlines held options on 4 in 1960/1961.  No order was ever placed.

MD-80 - East-West Airlines, during 1983, requested Federal Government permission ti import two 155-seat MD-80s.  The request was refused.

Saab 340 - East-West Airlines placed an order for 3, with an option for 1, in August 1989.  The order was later cancelled.


Information Source: Fred Niven

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