Billionaire Panthers Owner Takes Control Of Eastern Air Lines

Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola now controls a majority stake and two board seats at Miami-based start up Eastern Air Lines after a recent investment.

Viola and a partner provided a $5 million equity investment, along with $5 million line of credit to the airline. The company says that they now have adequate funding to cover first-year operations with three aircraft, along with certification costs.

Eastern also recently sold $2.5 million worth of stock to 22 private investors who bought in at a much higher valuation than Viola.

Viola is the founder of Virtu Financial, and his stake in the company is estimated to be worth between $2 billion and $3 bilion. Virtu CEO and co-founder Douglas Cifu joined Viola in the Eastern investment and was also given a seat on the board.


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7 years ago

and by the way, the Eastern Airlines bunker on Lejune you speak of was an absolute dump. yes it was solid concrete, but it was nasty, insufficiently scaled, dark & poorly maintained and one of the most depressing buidlings one could ever enter

7 years ago

What a shame all that was lost when EA went bust last time. And only for the DFW based AA to take over Latin America and 2x a day to LHR (london). We lost a key industry and now that the airlines are once again profitable and important EA and Miami are not around to benefit. Any executive that wants to rise up in AA has to move to DFW. Sad what we lost. Even the large hurricane proof building is now gone. Nobody had or has any operation center on LeJeune as strong or CAT 5-6 Hurricane proof anywhere in the entire M-D County. Sad what we lost.

7 years ago

Can’t wait for the first flight!

7 years ago

wait, miami- sorry but you’re crazy. AA has built MIA in to a hub as it’s never existed before. AA has a massive operation that just keeps growing every year. I worked for Eastern, I loved Eastern, but it was a TERRIBLE airline, with no investment in product airplanes or facilities for decades. What we have now in MIA is a massive new shiny terminal paid by AA through expensive passenger boarding fees, more flights than ever to destinations like Sao Paulo and Los Angeles, and a city that is absolutely benefitting more than Eastern ever could have done. MIA is the best Airport in Latin America by a mile (yes i’m including MIA in Latin America). Wealthy Latins often choose to fly AA over their own national carriers and with awesome new flat bed business class products and new routes (more than 10 ciites in Brazil alone?) we all should thank our lucky stars AA took over the Latin route network.