Eastern Airlines boss Martin R. Shugrue Jr. predicts that his ailing carrier can become profitable without seeking any more cash from a bankruptcy judge who just allowed Eastern to withdraw up to $135 million from an escrow fund.
"We have no intention of being back in court seeking further cash drawdowns," Shugrue told a news conference Wednesday. "It is simply not going to be required."Shugrue then refused to say whether he would be willing to give up on Eastern and have it liquidated as unsecured creditors have called for, if the airline cannot reach the break-even point early next year.
"We will make whatever changes we need as we move through the business plan," Shugrue said.
After U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton R. Lifland granted Eastern's emergency request for the $135 million in a hearing Tuesday night, the Miami-based carrier immediately started getting more bookings, Shugrue said.
"The phones are ringing off the hook. Consumers are viewing this as a substantial vote of confidence," Shugrue said.
Shugrue told the bankruptcy court Tuesday that the $135 million should be enough to keep Eastern flying through the winter.