Eastern Air Holdings, the parent of Eastern Airlines (EAL, Miami International), has finalised the acquisition of a 100% stake in Texas-based passenger charter specialist Hillwood Airways (Fort Worth Alliance), although both airlines will continue to operate under their existing brands.

The transaction was concluded on August 15, 2023. Eastern Airlines said in a US Department of Transportation application for the transfer of certificates that it would "coordinate sales and marketing" with Hillwood Airways and "assess in the future whether to merge their operating certificates". The de facto transfer of Hillwood Airways' certificates of public necessity and convenience is a procedural step allowing the airlines to offer a full range of services and is not equivalent to the merger of their respective Part 121 AOCs.

"Hillwood Airways has a tremendous reputation for safety and service within the charter industry and among its customers. We look forward to scaling its operation and building on its success," Eastern Air Holding Chief Executive Kenneth Wooley said.

Hillwood Airways currently operates a fleet of three B737-700s and one B737-700(QC) on charter flights. In turn, Eastern Airlines is an all-widebody carrier with a fleet of one B767-200, three B767-200(ER)s, six B767-300ERs, and one B777-200ER, the ch-aviation fleets module shows. Eastern currently focuses on the charter market, including for the military, having paused its limited scheduled international flights to Latin America. It plans to start serving China subject to the necessary certification.

Brian Randow, President and Chief Operating Officer of Eastern Airlines, will become the president of both companies, and Steve Kasteler will join Hillwood as Executive Vice-President (Commercial Sales) for both airlines.