Continental Airlines Reports December 2009 Operational Performance

Jan 04, 2010, 18:19 ET from Continental Airlines

HOUSTON, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) today reported a December consolidated (mainline plus regional) load factor of 83.0 percent, 3.1 points above the December 2008 consolidated load factor, and a mainline load factor of 83.5 percent, 3.1 points above the December 2008 mainline load factor. The carrier reported a domestic mainline December load factor of 85.1 percent, 1.1 points above the December 2008 domestic mainline load factor, and an international mainline load factor of 81.9 percent, 5.2 points above December 2008. All four December load factors were records for the month.

During December, Continental recorded a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on-time arrival rate of 70.7 percent and a mainline segment completion factor of 98.9 percent.

In December 2009, Continental flew 7.5 billion consolidated revenue passenger miles (RPMs) and 9.1 billion consolidated available seat miles (ASMs), resulting in a consolidated traffic increase of 6.0 percent and a capacity increase of 2.1 percent as compared to December 2008. In December 2009, Continental flew 6.7 billion mainline RPMs and 8.1 billion mainline ASMs, resulting in a mainline traffic increase of 6.3 percent and a mainline capacity increase of 2.3 percent as compared to December 2008. Domestic mainline traffic was 3.5 billion RPMs in December 2009, up 3.5 percent from December 2008, and domestic mainline capacity was 4.1 billion ASMs, up 2.2 percent from December 2008.

For December 2009, consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (RASM) is estimated to have decreased between 3.5 and 4.5 percent compared to December 2008, while mainline RASM is estimated to have decreased between 4.5 and 5.5 percent. For November 2009, consolidated passenger RASM decreased 8.5 percent compared to November 2008, while mainline passenger RASM decreased 9.8 percent compared to November 2008.

Continental ended the fourth quarter 2009 with an unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments balance of approximately $2.85 billion.

Continental's regional operations had a record December load factor of 78.5 percent, 2.4 points above the December 2008 regional load factor. Regional RPMs were 801.6 million and regional ASMs were 1,021.6 million in December 2009, resulting in a traffic increase of 3.2 percent and a capacity increase of 0.1 percent versus December 2008.

Continental Airlines is the world's fifth largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 2,400 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 130 domestic and 132 international destinations. Continental is a member of Star Alliance, which overall offers 19,700 daily flights to 1,077 airports in 175 countries through its 26 member airlines. With more than 41,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with its regional partners, carries approximately 63 million passengers per year.

Continental consistently earns awards and critical acclaim for both its operation and its corporate culture. For the sixth consecutive year, FORTUNE magazine named Continental the No. 1 World's Most Admired Airline on its 2009 list of World's Most Admired Companies. For more company information, go to continental.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that are not limited to historical facts, but reflect the company's current beliefs, expectations or intentions regarding future events. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. For examples of such risks and uncertainties, please see the risk factors set forth in the company's 2008 Form 10-K and its other securities filings, including any amendments thereto, which identify important matters such as the significant volatility in the cost of aircraft fuel, its transition to a new global alliance, the consequences of its high leverage and other significant capital commitments, its high labor and pension costs, delays in scheduled aircraft deliveries, service interruptions at one of its hub airports, disruptions to the operations of its regional operators, disruptions in its computer systems, and industry conditions, including the recession in the U.S. and global economies, the airline pricing environment, terrorist attacks, regulatory matters, excessive taxation, industry consolidation, the availability and cost of insurance, public health threats and the seasonal nature of the airline business. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this press release, except as required by applicable law.


                       PRELIMINARY TRAFFIC RESULTS
    DECEMBER                     2009                 2008      Change
    REVENUE PASSENGER
     MILES (000)
      Domestic                3,465,116            3,349,536  3.5   Percent

      International           3,271,551            2,985,120  9.6   Percent
      Transatlantic           1,543,515            1,458,900  5.8   Percent
      Latin America           1,058,463              980,140  8.0   Percent
      Pacific                   669,573              546,080 22.6   Percent

      Mainline                6,736,667            6,334,656  6.3   Percent
      Regional                  801,609              776,457  3.2   Percent
      Consolidated            7,538,276            7,111,113  6.0   Percent
    AVAILABLE SEAT
     MILES (000)
      Domestic                4,072,820            3,986,616  2.2   Percent

      International           3,992,193            3,894,269  2.5   Percent
      Transatlantic           1,830,421            1,931,521 -5.2   Percent
      Latin America           1,306,558            1,227,987  6.4   Percent
      Pacific                   855,214              734,761 16.4   Percent

      Mainline                8,065,013            7,880,885  2.3   Percent
      Regional                1,021,576            1,020,439  0.1   Percent
      Consolidated            9,086,589            8,901,324  2.1   Percent
    PASSENGER LOAD
     FACTOR
      Domestic             85.1 Percent         84.0 Percent  1.1   Points

      International        81.9 Percent         76.7 Percent  5.2   Points
      Transatlantic        84.3 Percent         75.5 Percent  8.8   Points
      Latin America        81.0 Percent         79.8 Percent  1.2   Points
      Pacific              78.3 Percent         74.3 Percent  4.0   Points

      Mainline             83.5 Percent         80.4 Percent  3.1   Points
      Regional             78.5 Percent         76.1 Percent  2.4   Points
      Consolidated         83.0 Percent         79.9 Percent  3.1   Points
    ONBOARD PASSENGERS
      Mainline                3,832,101            3,787,693  1.2   Percent
      Regional                1,460,884            1,412,373  3.4   Percent
      Consolidated            5,292,985            5,200,066  1.8   Percent
    CARGO REVENUE TON
     MILES (000)
      Total                      96,925               71,635 35.3   Percent

                          ( more )



                         PRELIMINARY TRAFFIC RESULTS
    FULL YEAR                    2009                 2008       Change
    REVENUE
     PASSENGER MILES
     (000)
      Domestic                40,598,266           42,853,991 -5.3  Percent

      International           39,225,614           39,952,762 -1.8  Percent
      Transatlantic           20,026,140           21,273,224 -5.9  Percent
      Latin America           11,645,641           11,632,551  0.1  Percent
      Pacific                  7,553,833            7,046,987  7.2  Percent

      Mainline                79,823,880           82,806,753 -3.6  Percent
      Regional                 9,311,624            9,880,393 -5.8  Percent
      Consolidated            89,135,504           92,687,146 -3.8  Percent
    AVAILABLE SEAT
     MILES (000)
      Domestic                47,871,437           51,434,315 -6.9  Percent

      International           49,535,086           51,092,516 -3.0  Percent
      Transatlantic           25,136,879           27,606,158 -8.9  Percent
      Latin America           14,343,126           14,219,042  0.9  Percent
      Pacific                 10,055,081            9,267,316  8.5  Percent

      Mainline                97,406,523          102,526,831 -5.0  Percent
      Regional                12,146,549           12,983,907 -6.4  Percent
      Consolidated           109,553,072          115,510,738 -5.2  Percent
    PASSENGER LOAD
     FACTOR
      Domestic              84.8 Percent         83.3 Percent  1.5  Points

      International         79.2 Percent         78.2 Percent  1.0  Point
      Transatlantic         79.7 Percent         77.1 Percent  2.6  Points
      Latin America         81.2 Percent         81.8 Percent -0.6  Points
      Pacific               75.1 Percent         76.0 Percent -0.9  Points

      Mainline              81.9 Percent         80.8 Percent  1.1  Points
      Regional              76.7 Percent         76.1 Percent  0.6  Points
      Consolidated          81.4 Percent         80.2 Percent  1.2  Points
    ONBOARD
     PASSENGERS
      Mainline                45,572,883           48,682,358 -6.4  Percent
      Regional                17,236,501           18,010,050 -4.3  Percent
      Consolidated            62,809,384           66,692,408 -5.8  Percent
    CARGO REVENUE
     TON MILES (000)
      Total                      949,196            1,005,894 -5.6  Percent

                           ( more )



                  PRELIMINARY OPERATIONAL AND FINANCIAL RESULTS
    DECEMBER                           2009        2008             Change
    On-Time Performance  (1)           70.7%       63.3%          7.4  Points
    Completion Factor (2)              98.9%       98.5%          0.4  Points
    November 2009 year-over-year
     consolidated RASM change                                   (8.5) Percent
    November 2009 year-over-year
     mainline RASM change                                       (9.8) Percent
    December 2009 estimated year-over-year
     consolidated RASM change                           (3.5) - (4.5)  Percent
    December 2009 estimated year-over-year
     mainline RASM change                               (4.5) - (5.5)  Percent
    December 2009 estimated average price
     per gallon of fuel, including fuel taxes                   2.07  Dollars
    Fourth Quarter 2009 estimated average price per
     gallon of fuel, including fuel taxes                       2.00  Dollars

    (1) Department of Transportation Arrivals within 14 minutes
    (2) Mainline Segment Completion Percentage



SOURCE Continental Airlines



RELATED LINKS

http://www.continental.com