Continental Airlines Named Top International Airline In National Airline Quality Rating Study; No. 2

Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL and CAL.A) today was recognized as the top international airline in the national Airline Quality Rating, an annual study conducted by the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha Aviation Institute. Continental has ranked No. 2 in the study for the last two years, up from third place in 1998 and fifth place in 1997.

“My 51,500 co-workers have worked hard to earn this distinction,” said Continental Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gordon Bethune. “This study is further proof that making Continental a great place to work, has made Continental a great airline to fly.”

The Airline Quality Rating study compares 10 major U.S. airlines’ service quality, based on factors such as baggage handling, on-time arrivals, denied boardings and customer service.

The AQR study ranking was 1) Southwest, 2) Continental Airlines, 3) Delta, 4) Northwest, 5) Alaska, 6) US Airways, 7) American Airlines, 8) America West, 9) TWA and 10) United.

This month, Continental will pay a bonus to employees because the airline hit its target for on-time flight arrivals in March. As part of this pay-for-performance incentive, each of the airline’s eligible employees will receive a bonus check in the amount of $65 for helping the airline run an on-time operation. In March, 80.7 percent of Continental flights arrived on-time, exceeding the 80 percent threshold where the bonus kicks in. This marks the 41st on-time bonus payment to Continental staff since 1995, with total bonus payments now reaching $124 million.


Continental Airlines is the sixth largest airline in the world, fifth largest airline in the U.S., offering more than 2,200 departures daily to 135 domestic and 89 international destinations. Operating major hubs in Newark, Houston and Cleveland, Continental ( has extensive service throughout the Americas, and to Europe and Asia.

Continental is in the top quarter of FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America,” and has won first or second place Frequent Flyer Magazine and J.D. Power awards for four consecutive years. Continental has received numerous awards for its BusinessFirst premium cabin (Conde Nast Traveler, OAG, Entrepreneur and Smart Money magazines), OnePass frequent flyer program (Inside Flyer’s Freddie Awards) and overall operations and management (Air Transport World’s 1997 Airline of the Year).