Continental moves fast on EU vote

In response to the European Commission vote on open skies, Continental Airlines has 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.