Continental Airlines Marks Share Buy-Back With `Independence Day` Celebration; Employees Get a $5.4

Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) today is
celebrating its independence.  For the first time since 1983, the carrier is
flying without an outside controlling shareholder.  The company is marking the
occasion by paying a $100 cash bonus to each of Continental`s 54,300 employees
around the world, and holding holiday-themed “Independence Day” celebrations
featuring apple pie and Coca-Cola.

“Today we have that great feeling people get so rarely in life—like
when you first move out of your parents` house or when you finally pay off a
mortgage,” said Gordon Bethune, chairman and chief executive officer.  “Even
though this is a big change for us, we`re going to stay focused on what we do
best—operating a clean, safe, reliable airline and doing what`s right for
our customers, employees and shareholders.”

Continental today repurchased from Northwest Airlines approximately
6.7 million Continental Class A shares for $450 million in cash (see separate

Speaking to thousands of employees at the `Independence Day` celebration
in Houston today, Bethune said, “Northwest and Continental have a 25-year
alliance agreement that benefits both carriers—as well as air travelers—
immensely.  We enjoy a great working relationship with Northwest, and look
forward to working together to serve our customers.”
Continental Airlines is the fifth largest airline in the U.S., offering
more than 2,200 departures daily to 136 domestic and 92 international
destinations.  Operating hubs in Newark, Houston, Cleveland and Guam,
Continental ( serves more international cities than any
other U.S. carrier, including extensive service throughout the Americas,
Europe and Asia.

Continental is in the top quarter of Fortune magazine`s “100 Best
Companies to Work for in America,” and is ranked the nation`s No. 1 airline in
customer satisfaction for long and short-haul flights by Frequent Flyer
Magazine and J.D. Power and Associates.  Continental has received numerous
awards for its BusinessFirst premium cabin (Conde Nast Traveler, OAG,
Entrepreneur and SmartMoney magazines), OnePass frequent flyer program
(InsideFlyer`s Freddie Awards) and overall operations and management (Air
Transport World`s 1996 Airline of the Year).