CLEVELAND, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL), along with Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Governor Ted Strickland, announced a plan by Continental to grow its capacity at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) by 40 percent over a two-year period. Continental will initially operate 50 new flights, principally on regional jets, and add 20 new nonstop destinations by next summer. By early 2009, Continental plans to add more than a dozen additional flights, principally on mainline aircraft, further strengthening Cleveland's role in Continental's global route network. The project is expected to create an estimated 700 Ohio jobs. Many of the regional jet aircraft used for the additional service will be reallocated from Newark. Beginning in 2009, a number of additional mainline aircraft will also be allocated to support the growth. Today's announcement is the result of a partnership among Continental, the City of Cleveland and the State of Ohio. "This growth strengthens Cleveland and gives customers more options when connecting within the Continental system," said Larry Kellner, Continental chairman and chief executive officer. "Mayor Jackson's partnership, support for air service development and his strong management team at Hopkins were crucial to our decision. We're also grateful for the leadership and support of Governor Strickland, Lt. Governor Fisher and the State of Ohio, the support of Cleveland City Council and the Ohio Congressional delegation. All this support has helped make it possible for us to grow our presence here." "Continental Airlines is making a significant investment in the City of Cleveland and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. This strategic investment is designed to maximize Cleveland's assets, create a positive environment for business and serve as a vehicle for tourism to the entire Cleveland Plus region," said Mayor Jackson. "I'd like to thank Mr. Kellner, Mr. Smisek, Governor Strickland, Lt. Governor Fisher, Director Smith and all who worked with me and my staff to make this vision for Cleveland a reality." "The State of Ohio is proud to partner in this effort to support this major expansion in the great City of Cleveland," said Governor Strickland. The State offered an incentive package valued at more than $16 million; to date, Continental has been awarded a $900,000 Rapid Outreach Grant, a 70-percent, 10-year Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit, an Ohio Investment in Training program grant valued at up to $550,000, as well as employment pre-screening, testing and recruitment services through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. "Ohio's world-class transportation infrastructure and airports are strengths for our communities that enhance our economic development goals, and this expansion will bolster Cleveland Hopkins and support business development in Northeast Ohio," said Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, who also serves as Director of the Ohio Department of Development. "Continental's expanded air service at Cleveland Hopkins will benefit the entire state by improving access to Ohio and demonstrating to expanding businesses one more reason why more than 1,000 internationally owned establishments from 26 countries are located in Ohio." Growth to Take Place in Three Phases During 2007 to 2009: Phase One Phase one was launched with a significant increase in capacity in 2007 in many mainline markets from Cleveland including: Destination % capacity increase San Francisco 45% Orlando 33% Seattle 32% Los Angeles 10% Seasonal flights to San Diego also began in late December 2006. The 2007 capacity increase has been achieved through a combination of adding additional flight frequency and using larger aircraft on these routes. New service to Quebec City began in June of 2007. Later this month, twice daily flights to Oklahoma City and daily service to Ottawa will begin. As a result of the growth in 2007, Continental's operation in Cleveland will be 10 percent larger in 2007 than in 2006. Phase Two: 12 New Nonstop Destinations In early 2008, Continental will add 27 new flights to 12 new nonstop destinations including: New Destination Frequency Effective Date Greensboro, N.C. (GSO) Three times daily March 3, 2008 Omaha, Neb. (OMA) Three times daily March 3, 2008 Savannah, Ga. (SAV) Twice daily March 3, 2008 Birmingham, Ala. (BHM) Twice daily April 6, 2008 Charleston, S.C. (CHS) Once daily April 6, 2008 Green Bay, Wis. (GRB) Twice daily April 6, 2008 Tulsa, Okla. (TUL) Twice daily April 6, 2008 Little Rock, Ark. (LIT) Twice daily May 4, 2008 Memphis, Tenn. (MEM) Twice daily May 4, 2008 Lansing, Mich. (LAN) Three times daily May 4, 2008 Des Moines, Iowa (DSM) Twice daily June 12, 2008 Kalamazoo, Mich. (AZO) Three times daily June 12, 2008 (Weekend schedules may vary). In addition, previously announced seasonal service to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) will begin May 22, 2008. The flight is planned to depart Cleveland at 7:05 p.m. and arrive in Paris at 9:05 a.m. the following day. The return flight will depart Paris at 10:50 a.m. on May 23, 2008, and arrive in Cleveland at 2:00 p.m. the same day. Both flights are served with a Boeing 757 aircraft featuring Continental's award-winning BusinessFirst cabin. Paris is the second European destination served by Continental from Cleveland, following London Gatwick airport (LGW). Customers may go online today at continental.com to begin booking and ticketing the new flights. In addition, customers have the option of making reservations by calling Continental at 1-800-523-FARE, or contacting their local travel agent. Introductory fares will be offered in the new markets. (See attached sheet). Additional cities to be announced later will also be added during Phase Two. Following the completion of the second phase of the expansion in June 2008, Continental expects to be providing 300 daily departures from Cleveland, up from the 242 daily departures in June 2007. Total nonstop destinations served from Cleveland will grow from 80 today to 100. Phase Three Phase Three will be announced in 2008 and will add more nonstop destinations and a further increase in seats to existing Continental markets. The additional capacity will be in place for the peak summer 2009 travel period. The Fleet Continental and its partners have deployed a diverse fleet of aircraft at the Cleveland hub. Flights are operated with Boeing 757s, 737s, Embraer and Canadair Regional Jets, Bombardier Q200s and Beechcraft 1900s. The Beechcraft 1900s will be entirely replaced by Q200s by April 2008. The 37-seat Q200s are quiet, next-generation aircraft featuring state-of-the-art features for passenger comfort. The new routes will be flown by a combination of aircraft types operated by Continental and its regional airline partners. More Than 700 New Jobs In order to support the expanded schedule at the Cleveland hub, Continental expects that it and its regional airline partners will hire more than 700 new employees over the next 18 months. Positions will include airport sales agents and customer service agents. In addition, Continental is also hiring pilots and flight attendants. Continental career opportunities are posted at continental.com. Airport Improvements Support Expansion To support the growth of Cleveland, future facility plans call for an expanded security checkpoint area, a new meet-and-greet waiting area and additional ticket counters. A concession redevelopment program is underway to provide more retail and food and beverage options for travelers at Cleveland Hopkins -- at prices that are comparable to non-airport locations. Continental and the Airport are also reviewing different options to expand and/or relocate the current Federal Inspection Services (FIS) and customs hall. Already completed are a new runway and centralized de-icing pad, C Concourse ramp replacement, expansion of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) bag room with a new in-line baggage screening system, and restroom renovations. Continental Airlines is the world's fifth largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 3,100 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 144 domestic and 138 international destinations. More than 400 additional points are served via SkyTeam alliance airlines. With more than 45,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with Continental Express, carries approximately 67 million passengers per year. Continental consistently earns awards and critical acclaim for both its operation and its corporate culture. For the fourth consecutive year, FORTUNE magazine named Continental the No. 1 World's Most Admired Airline on its 2007 list of World's Most Admired Companies. Continental was also named the No. 1 airline on the publication's 2007 America's Most Admired airline industry list. Additionally, Continental again won major awards at the OAG Airline of the Year Awards including "Best Airline Based in North America" for the fourth year in a row, and "Best Executive/Business Class" for the fifth consecutive year. For more company information, visit continental.com. CLEVELAND EXPANSION PROMOTIONAL FARES CLEVELAND - PARIS Continental will offer a low introductory round-trip coach-class fare of $898 midweek/$958 weekend from Cleveland nonstop to Paris. Tickets must be purchased by Sept. 28, 2007. The fare is valid for travel from the day the service starts until Aug. 28, 2008. A Saturday night stay is required and there is a 30-day maximum stay. Tickets are non-refundable and a $200 change fee applies. The sale fare does not include a $2.50 September 11 security fee (each way), passenger facility charges up to $18 (round trip), and international taxes and fees of $94. Fares subject to change without notice, seats are limited and other restrictions apply. CLEVELAND - DOMESTIC Continental will offer a low introductory nonstop fare of $198 round trip from Cleveland to the following new markets: Greensboro, N.C. Omaha, Neb. Savannah, Ga. Birmingham, Ala. Charleston, S.C. Green Bay, Wis. Tulsa, Okla. Little Rock, Ark. Memphis, Tenn. Lansing, Mich. Des Moines, Iowa Kalamazoo, Mich. Tickets must be purchased by Sept. 28, 2007. The fare is valid for travel from the day the service starts until Aug. 28, 2008. A three-night or Friday night stay is required. Tickets are non-refundable and a $100 change fee applies. The sale fare does not include a $3.40 per segment fee (each way), a $2.50 per segment September 11 security fee (each way), and passenger facility charges up to $18 (round trip). Fares subject to change without notice, seats are limited and other restrictions apply.
SOURCE Continental Airlines