HOUSTON, Aug. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/—Continental Airlines
(NYSE: CAL) today announced new agreements with Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL)
and Northwest Airlines (Nasdaq: NWAC) that will allow it to significantly
broaden the scope of its services through cooperation with these airlines, and
by working in the future with several other global airlines including Air
France, Alitalia, Aeromexico and CSA Czech.
The expanded cooperation is strategically important because it will enable
Continental more effectively to access new revenue sources and compete with
carriers in other alliances such as Star (led by United Airlines) and oneworld
(led by American Airlines). Under the agreements, Continental will have the
ability to join the SkyTeam alliance, in which Delta already participates, and
will be able to provide customers with easier access to various areas in
North, Central and South America, as well as throughout Europe, Africa and the
“Our industry has changed dramatically in the last 12 months and we need
to adapt to be competitive,” said Chairman and CEO Gordon Bethune. “This
allows us to remain an independent, global airline with a strong role in an
evolving marketplace, benefiting our customers, shareholders and employees.”
The new airline relationships will enable Continental to build on the
benefits it has earned through its alliance with Northwest Airlines,
instituted in 1998. Through that alliance, Continental generated an
incremental pre-tax contribution of $140 million in 2001. Although
Continental expects the benefits of the new airline relationships to be less
than those of its alliance with Northwest, they will help to offset any
negative impact from the announced alliance between United Airlines and US
As with the Continental-Northwest alliance, these new airline
relationships will involve code-sharing, which benefits travelers by
streamlining reservations, ticketing and flight connections while providing a
broad network of destinations from which to choose. In addition, the earning
and redemption opportunities for members of Continental`s OnePass frequent
flyer program will be significantly enlarged through reciprocal program
arrangements between Continental and each of the other airlines. Members of
the carriers` airport lounges will enjoy reciprocal privileges.
Continental will continue to vigorously compete with all airlines in the
group, including Northwest and Delta.
“The Continental-Northwest alliance has demonstrated how major U.S.
carriers can improve travel services for consumers while maintaining the
benefits of competition on fares, routes, schedules, product and operational
performance,” said David Grizzle, Sr. VP-Corporate Development.
Continental has a strong core of loyal customers who sometimes need to
travel beyond the range of destinations that Continental can profitably serve
on its own, and who will find it more convenient to travel on a seamless
network of cooperating airlines. For example:
— In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Continental will be able to add code-share destinations, beyond those currently served via Amsterdam with partner KLM, by connecting with Air France or Alitalia for trips to destinations including Bordeaux, Florence, Malta, Dakar and Riyadh.
— In Mexico, Continental will augment its broad scope of 19 destinations by providing convenient connections to other cities served by Aeromexico, including Culiacan, La Paz, Los Mochis, Monclova and
— In the U.S., Delta`s Atlanta and Salt Lake City hubs will give Continental customers the ability to reach more cities in the Southeast and Northwest, including points in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, among other places.
The effectiveness of the agreements is subject to the fulfillment of
certain conditions, including government reviews, waiver of provisions in
labor agreements of certain other carriers, and approval by the current global
alliance partners of the respective airlines. Continental cannot predict if
or when such conditions will be met. The parties plan to file appropriate
documents with the U.S. Department of Transportation today. Because of the
significant economic challenges currently facing Continental and every other
major airline in the U.S., Continental is hoping to get an early clearance
from regulators so that other conditions can be met and the code-sharing and
other activities can be implemented early next year.
Continental Airlines is the fifth largest airline in the U.S., offering
more than 2,100 departures daily to 122 domestic and 90 international
destinations. Operating hubs in New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam,
Continental serves more international cities than any other U.S. carrier,
including extensive service throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For
more information, visit continental.com