II. To confer jurisdiction upon admiralty for breach of contract, there must be some maritime activity involved in the occurrence upon which the claims are based.
For libellants to recover upon any alleged breach of contract for the death of their decedents, there must be jurisdiction in admiralty with respect to such claims. In these libels there is no maritime contract involved between any of libellants' decedents and respondent, Eastern Airlines, Inc.
The traditional criterion of admiralty jurisdiction as to contracts is whether the contract is maritime, having reference to maritime service or maritime transactions. James Richardson & Sons v. Connors Marine Co., 141 F.2d 226 (2nd Cir., 1944).
Pacific Surety Co. v. Leatham & Smith Towing & Wrecking Co., 151 F. 440 (7th Cir., 1907), stated at page 443:
'* * * the doctrine is settled that the contract articulated in a libel must be, directly and in essence, an obligation maritime in its nature, for the performance of maritime service or transactions, to confer jurisdiction.'
While it is assumed that a contract between libellants' decedents and respondent did exist, such contract had no maritime aspects at all. It covered a flight by land plane from one airport on land to another airport on land and there has been no showing that any substantial part of the flight was over the sea.
Since there was no maritime activity involved in the occurrence upon which the claims herein are based, there is no admiralty jurisdiction present as to the contract claims described in the libels.
AND NOW, March 19, 1962, IT IS ORDERED that the EXCEPTIONS OF RESPONDENT, Eastern Airlines, Inc., in the above-captioned admiralty actions are sustained, and these actions, insofar as they have been brought against Eastern Airlines, Inc., respondent, are dismissed, without prejudice.