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




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Brief History


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

On 23 June, 1947, the Anson Holding Company operated its first flight between Tamworth & Sydney, using Avro Anson VH-ASM. This was initially a 3-times-weekly service, but was later daily.

On 11 July, 1947, 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.

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 19 April, 1948, East-West Airlines commenced Tamworth-Glen Innes-Brisbane services, after conducting a survey flight on 10 April.

On 5 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) was ever operated by East-West.

On 14 May, 1950, 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 1950, South Coast Airways began feeder services from Sydney to its south & west.
On 22 July, 1953, East-West Airlines first DC-3, VH-EAM, bought from QANTAS Empire Airways Ltd., arrived at Tamworth.

On 15 August, 1955, East-West Airlines commenced services to Inverell from Sydney (7 services weekly) & Brisbane (2 services weekly) & extended their Sydney-Cowra service to Cootamundra.

On 4 April, East-West Airlines commenced services Sydney-Lake Cargelligo-Condobolin services.

On 31 March, 1962, East-West Airlines wound-up South Coast Airways & repurchased their two Hudsons. In January, 1967, a contract was signed with East-West Airlines Ltd. to maintain & operate aircraft for the New South Wales Health Commission. During October, East-West Airlines ceased services to Quirindi.

in 1982 Bryan Grey a former airline executive with Ansett and Air Niugini together with former Citicorp Australia merchant banking executive Duke Minks. Formed East-West Development Pty. Ltd. Which had assets of AUD 50,000, with the specific purpose to acquire East-West Airlines.

With a loan of AUD 8.5 million from the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust  they purchased East-West in a share buy-out. The take over was deemed controversial, as discussions queried how far the involvement of Nauruan capital constituted quasi a foreign takeover.

In the following years East-West competed vigorously with major airlines Ansett and Australian Airlines on inter-capital routes. The Australian aviation industry was highly regulated at the time under the Two Airlines Policy, which prevented East-West from flying directly between major capital cities, so they instead offered services between major cities via regional centres.

Routes included Melbourne to Sydney via Albury or Sydney to Brisbane via Newcastle and Coolangatta. East-West primarily flew Fokker F27 prop-jets and F28 jets but would eventually operate larger Boeing 737-300 aircraft for passenger operations and Boeing 727-200s for cargo interests.

East-West sold in June 1983 return tickets between Sydney and Melbourne via Albury, which took about two hours 45 minutes, for AUD 120, which was about half of the standard fare of AUD 248 for direct flights by the duopoly carriers, taking one hour 15 minutes. However, also Ansett and TAA offered discounted fares down to around AUD 140.

According to Brian Grey the service attracted about 4000 customers per month.

Because of its operating structure, East-West was able to significantly undercut other airlines. East West Airlines aggressive "Third Airline" campaign forced the Australian Government to eventually scrap the Two Airline Policy.

The Hawke-lead Labor Government worked to protect the anti-competitive agreement which had kept Australian air fares seemingly inflated for many years.

Managing Director Bryan Grey along with marketing consultant John Williams created a massive nationwide media campaign and thus attracted many first time flyers with what could be described as Australia's first truly discounted fares in a now deregulated arena. East West set the scene for other airlines to enter the Australian domestic market years later.

On 27 February, 1984, Skywest Airlines began Perth-Kalgoorlie & Perth-Geraldton services, using East-West F28s, in competition with Airlines of Western Australia. During July, 1986, East-West Airlines (Queensland) Ltd. was founded, to operate services within Queensland.

In mid-1987 Skywest Aviation lost the Federal Government ‘Coastwatch’ contract; worth some $20m. This & the losses being incurred by East-West Airlines severely weakened Skywest Holdings.
By that stage East-West reportedly had accumulated losses of $90m & debts of some $170m.

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 4 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 31 October, 1993, the remaining operations of Eastwest Airlines were merged into Ansett Australia’s. It was officially wound-up on 31 December.

Eastwest Airlines (Operations) Ltd. never made a profit & had reportedly lost some $244m in the previous 3 years.

On 1 January, 1994, Eastwest Airlines formally ceased to exist.

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