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Eastern Airlines, Empire Messenger Form Cheap Same-Day Air Delivery Service

March 26, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ Eastern Airlines and a New York-based courier on Wednesday announced a same-day package delivery service between Boston, New York and Washington that costs less than half of what competing companies charge.

Fresh Air Courier is a joint venture between Eastern and the Empire Messenger Companies, the largest intra-city messenger service in the country. The venture will utilize the mostly empty cargo holds of the Eastern Shuttle, an air service that dominates passenger traffic between the three cities.

As of April 1, customers will be able to send two-pound packages for $22.95, door-to-door, between any pair of the cities up to 7:30 p.m. for delivery the same day, officials of Eastern and Empire told a New York news conference. The heaviest package accepted will be 70 pounds, costing $118.

Mark Holzberg, Empire’s chief executive officer, said the prices are less than half the same-day delivery charges of competing services and less than some next-day delivery charges.

Asked how the business could be profitable, Holzberg and Jerry Schorr, Eastern’s vice president for cargo sales, said the existing air-shuttle flights provide a convenient and cheap way to move packages.

″When you’re dealing with a shuttle, you’re dealing with planes that usually fly with empty bellies,″ Holzberg said.

Discussions for such a venture began in November but a final agreement was delayed because of Eastern’s uncertain future. The Miami-based airline, $2.5 billion in debt, agreed to be acquired last month by Texas Air Corp. in a deal valued at more than $600 million.

Asked why such a delivery service was not inaugurated before, Schorr said, ″because we weren’t smart enough and we just woke up.″

Holzberg and Schorr predicted moving 1,000 packages a day within a few months. They declined to estimate profits or specify how they would be shared, terming the venture a ″limited partnership.″

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