Written by Jill Nossa
George Jehn of Bayville finally has the opportunity to tell the world the story he has been wanting to reveal for years: the truth behind the buyout of Eastern Airlines in 1986. With his new book, Final Destination: Disaster. What Really Happened to Eastern Airlines, which was released on Oct. 1, anyone who remembers Eastern Airlines—at one point the world’s second largest airline—can learn the back story of its ultimate demise, from an insider’s perspective.
“Other books have been written, but the truth had never been told,” says Jehn, who flew as a pilot for the airline for 18 years.
Jehn describes Eastern as the “pilot’s airline” and one that he had aspired to work for. He and thousands of others were deeply affected by its destruction; the loss of jobs led to divorces, foreclosures and even suicides.
“If you were a pilot and loved to fly, that’s where you wanted to work,” he says. “In July 1985, the airline turned on a dime. Prior to that it had been the most profitable airline.”
Jehn was not only a pilot, but also held various positions within the airline, and from them, was able to procure information he would not otherwise have been privy to. The story centers around the disclosure of a top secret meeting held the day before the airline was sold, when a deal was offered that would have saved Eastern but was refused. Jehn says he knew that “there must be something larger at stake,” and made it his mission to get to the bottom of it.
“It made no sense to me; I had to find out the reasons for it. And in doing so, it took me to areas I never expected it would.”
The exposé is Jehn’s second book; his first, the novel Flying Too Close to the Sun, came out in December 2012. This one, with a lot of factual information and history, “was not as fun to write.”
“It’s a very sad story that didn’t have to happen,” he says.
The book is now available at all major bookstores and online at Amazon and BN.com.