As he winds up his first 100 days as trustee of bankrupt Eastern Air Lines, Martin Shugrue believes the carrier has successfully begun to shed the legacy of Frank Lorenzo even though it is losing money at a faster rate than ever -- about $1.5 million a day.

In an interview yesterday, Shugrue acknowledged that Eastern's survival is less than assured. "You don't need me to tell you what the odds are," Shugrue said. "We've got every analyst in the country forecasting our demise."

But Shugrue said that some of its vital signs were getting stronger. For example, he said that in August, for the first time in 15 months, Eastern met its revenue target and filled more seats with paying customers domestically than any other airline.

To provide what Shugrue called "a springboard for the post-100-day campaign," Eastern yesterday announced it was doubling the number of first-class seats in all of its aircraft that it will offer at non-discount coach fares in an effort to attract more business travelers.

Although Shugrue found some reason to be upbeat about the future, he conceded the airline was losing more money now than it was when he took over the day-to-day operations from former Texas Air Corp. chairman Frank Lorenzo last April. Shugrue said Eastern has not updated its projection that it will lose $510.5 million this year, but he said that higher fuel costs are adding $5 million to $10 million a month in previously unanticipated expenses.

The added financial hemorrhaging has done little to soothe Eastern's creditors, who, until now, have gone along with almost everything Shugrue has proposed. But that may be changing.

At a bankruptcy court hearing in New York on Monday, Joel Zweibel, attorney for the airline's unsecured creditors, complained "the financial blood continues to flow. It has not been staunched and there is no apparent basis to conclude that it will be staunched in the near future. The result is that the creditors' investment has dwindled at a really stupendous rate."

Zweibel, a prominent bankruptcy attorney, said, "I have never seen a case where, after a year and a half, the losses {while operating under bankruptcy court reorganization} are not only continuing, but escalating dramatically."

One possible solution to the financial crisis at Eastern might be the sale of a major portion of the company to Northwest Airlines. Shugrue said yesterday that talks involving Eastern, Northwest and the creditors committee are continuing. But he said Northwest has not made a firm proposal to buy the airline.

Shugrue discounted one immediate problem facing Eastern: a $95 million payment to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. due Sept. 15. Although no payment agreement has been reached with the government, Shugrue said there was a 60-day grace period for negotiations before the government could automatically place liens against Continental Holdings Corp., which ultimately is responsible for the pension payments.

Shugrue, looking back, said he believes he has followed the right course. "I wouldn't do a damn thing different from what I've done since I got here," he said.