HOUSTON, March 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) applauded today's approval of an open skies agreement between the U.S. and the European Union which will provide Continental with flights access to London's Heathrow Airport for the first time. Upon news of the European Commission vote, Continental immediately filed an amended application at the U.S. Department of Transportation for rights to serve new routes to Europe once the open skies agreement takes effect. Continental, which by the end of 2007 will operate to 30 destinations across the Atlantic from its U.S. hubs at New York/Newark, Houston and Cleveland, plans to inaugurate service from its Houston hub to London/Heathrow before summer 2008, subject to government approval and the airline obtaining necessary slots and facilities at Heathrow Airport. As it expands into Heathrow, the airline will retain service to London/Gatwick currently offered from the airline's three U.S. hubs. "Our customers have always wanted more options for accessing London, and the open skies agreement will allow us to give our customers the convenience of choosing between Heathrow and Gatwick for their London travel plans," said Larry Kellner, Chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines. Additionally, Continental has previously announced service between the airline's New York area hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and Athens, Greece and Mumbai, India, both scheduled to start in 2007. In addition to new Houston-Heathrow service in 2008, Continental has also announced that it will inaugurate service to Paris in 2008 from the airline's hub at Cleveland where it operates seasonal service to London/Gatwick. The airline is working with the City of Cleveland to establish the necessary facilities at Hopkins International Airport in time for the launch of the Paris route. Under the SkyTeam alliance, passengers on the Continental flight to Paris will make convenient connections to other points around the world on Air France flights from its Paris hub. 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 150 domestic and 136 international destinations. More than 400 additional points are served via SkyTeam alliance airlines. With more than 44,000 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. In 2006, Continental Airlines won its sixth J.D. Power and Associates award since 1996. The carrier received the highest rank in customer satisfaction among network carriers in North America in the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Airline Satisfaction Index Survey(SM). For the fourth consecutive year, FORTUNE magazine named Continental the No. 1 Most Admired Global Airline on its 2007 list of Most Admired Global 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 third year in a row, and "Best Executive/Business Class" for the fourth consecutive year. For more company information, visit continental.com.
SOURCE Continental Airlines