Continental Airlines has announced plans to launch the first-ever nonstop service between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport, beginning in 2008.The new service, which will be open for sale in the summer of 2007 and will initially be seasonal, complements Continental’s existing international service between Cleveland Hopkins and London Gatwick, England; Cancun, Mexico; Montreal and Toronto, Canada; and Nassau, Bahamas.
The Cleveland to Paris route is especially attractive as it allows Continental to enhance its participation in the SkyTeam global airline alliance. The new service will provide convenient onward connections to points throughout Europe, Asia and Africa via a Paris hub, operated by Continental’s SkyTeam partner Air France. Passenger traffic will be strengthened by having hubs at both ends of the route.
In addition, Continental announced that it intends to provide through flight service between Cleveland Hopkins and Shanghai, China, beginning March 25, 2007, pending Department of Transportation (DOT) approval. The through flight number service will provide convenient air service between the growing region of northern Ohio and China’s center for finance and trade via Continental’s New York area hub at Newark Liberty International Airport. Continental has applied to the DOT to operate the first-ever nonstop New York/Newark to Shanghai service and the only nonstop Shanghai service from the entire Northeast region of the U.S.
Also in February 2007, Continental Airlines will begin to introduce 16 modern 37-passenger Bombardier Q-200 cabin class aircraft for its Continental Connection flights operated by CommutAir at its Cleveland hub. These aircraft will replace the 19-seat Beechcraft 1900 aircraft currently in service. The transition of aircraft is expected to be completed in the spring of 2008.
Continental Airlines and the elected U.S. senators and congressmen who represent Ohio’s interest in Washington, D.C., with officials from the state of Ohio, the city of Cleveland and Hopkins International, will work together to bring this new service to Cleveland.
“Today we thank Continental Airlines for responding to our request asking the airline to seriously consider expanding its operations at Hopkins International,” U.S. Senator Mike DeWine said. “Cleveland is home to 11 Fortune 1000 companies, and international flights linking these companies to places like France, Europe and China are crucial for our local businesses to succeed in today’s global marketplace. As international air service grows, so do our economy and businesses, and that translates to jobs.”
Ohio is home to 60 Fortune 1000 companies, the state ranks fifth in the country for Fortune 500 company headquarters, and Forbes magazine recognizes 34 Ohio companies in its annual ranking of the 2000 largest corporations in the world.
“Senators Mike DeWine and George Voinovich, Congressmen Ralph Regula, Steve LaTourette and Dave Hobson, and Mayor Frank Jackson continue to demonstrate their support for Continental and my 43,000 co-workers,” said Jeff Smisek, president of Continental Airlines. “Over the last 10 years we have made significant investments in our infrastructure to support continued international growth. Cleveland will be the latest Continental hub to see those benefits.”
Continental employs over 3,000 co-workers in Ohio, flies to five cities across the state and operates a hub at Cleveland Hopkins which connects Cleveland to 71 destinations with over 200 daily departures. Continental has invested over $150 million in new facilities at Cleveland. In December 2005, Continental signed a ten-year lease extension with Hopkins International Airport.
“This is great news for Hopkins International Airport and industries that are linked to air service growth,” Senator Voinovich said. “Continental’s new service to France, Europe and other international destinations will increase economic development opportunities in the region as well as provide a direct link between northeastern Ohio and the international community. This will boost travel, tourism, and business and cultural opportunities. I’m happy to work with Continental to make this happen.”
The European market accounts for $6 billion of Ohio’s overall international exports with France being the third largest European export market within Europe.
“The future of Cleveland and the region hinges on our ability to compete nationally and internationally in today’s global economy. Continental’s new international service to Paris and Shanghai will give us access to the largest emerging economy in the world and help local businesses continue to grow,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Cleveland. “Thanks to all who made this new service possible.”
“Continental has answered our request to link Cleveland with France using what will prove to be economically viable Boeing 757 service,” said Congressman Regula. “Also, the through flight numbers between Cleveland and Shanghai will put Cleveland on the map and give the city and region an additional opportunity to promote themselves across China and the greater Asian region.”
“Anytime Continental is able to expand its presence at Hopkins, it’s a great benefit to Cleveland, the regional economy and the state,” said Congressman LaTourette. “We want Continental’s presence in Cleveland to grow, and the addition of more international flights is just a tremendous benefit for travelers and businesses and helps to solidify the vital importance of Continental to our area.”
“I support business growth wherever it occurs in the state of Ohio,” said Congressmen Hobson of the 7th Ohio district. “Adding nonstop Paris service and through flight service to Shanghai from Cleveland is a win for all of the residents of Ohio.”