Continental Airlines will return to its pre-Katrina departure frequency of 111 flights per week at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport by May 2006—sooner than any other carrier.
Although airlines in total have restored less than half the seat capacity that existed before the hurricane, Continental leads all carriers with 86 percent of its pre-Katrina seats currently available in the market. The new flights to be added by May will lift Continental to 94 percent of its local pre-Katrina capacity.
Having a hub in nearby Houston makes Continental a convenient choice for travel to and from New Orleans.
Continental’s aggressive restoration of flights and capacity is a hopeful sign for New Orleans’ visitor-dependent economy. Numerous conventions and events, such as Mardi Gras, require substantial airline capacity to be successful. Continental alone is carrying more than 29,000 travelers to New Orleans during the Mardi Gras celebration.
“Our local employees have shown tremendous enthusiasm for the task of regenerating our business in New Orleans,” said Continental New Orleans General Manager Darrel North. “Continental has supported us locally by providing the ongoing capacity growth that we know we need as the city’s population returns and as business and tourism activity increases.”
Continental currently operates a total of 99 weekly departures from New Orleans, including 77 to Houston, 14 to Newark Liberty and 8 to Cleveland, providing approximately 20 percent of all seats in the market.