PARIS and HOUSTON, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/—Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) and French rail operator SNCF announced today that they will launch an air/rail codeshare agreement for travel effective February 1, 2003. The agreement will allow travelers to transfer easily at Paris/Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) between Continental transatlantic flights and SNCF TGV high-speed rail services to and from 13 cities throughout France.
Under the agreement, Continental will place its designator code (CO*) on SNCF TGV trains for connecting itineraries between Paris/CDG and the following French cities: Angers St. Laud; Avignon TGV; Bordeaux St. Jean; Le Mans; Lille Europe; Lyon Part Dieu; Marseille St. Charles; Montpellier; Nantes; Nimes; Poitiers; Rennes; and St Pierre de Corps/Tours.
Travelers will be able to transfer seamlessly at CDG between Continental flights, which arrive at and depart from Terminal 2A, and SNCF TGV trains, which operate from the railway station between Terminals 2C and 2F.
Continental operates three flights a day to Paris/CDG _- twice-daily non-stop service from New York/Newark (one Boeing 777 and one Boeing 767-200ER) and a daily Boeing 777 non-stop service from Houston.
Customers will be able to make one reservation for both air and rail services by calling Continental Airlines Reservations toll-free on 1-800-231-0856, by logging onto continental.com or through a travel agent. The rail portion of the itinerary will show a Continental flight number. Continental-SNCF codeshare tickets will go on sale on January 26.
The agreement offers additional benefits to members of OnePass, Continental`s frequent flyer program, who will be able to earn miles when using SNCF TGV services in conjunction with Continental flights. OnePass will credit 500 miles for each TGV segment or the actual segment miles, whichever is greater. Segments count toward elite status, and there is a 50% mileage bonus for first class travel. To qualify for mileage awards, OnePass members connecting to the TGV at CDG must book the TGV segment as a CO codeshare segment.
Commenting on the agreement, David Grizzle, Continental`s Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, said: “We are delighted to partner with SNCF and offer our customers _- and particularly our frequent flyers -_ a range of exciting new travel options and benefits in France. The fast and comfortable TGV trains are a perfect complement to Continental`s industry-leading on-time performance, modern aircraft and award-winning service, and the agreement will make travel between the U.S. and cities throughout France quicker and easier than ever for our customers.”
SNCF (La Societe Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais) operates a TGV high-speed train network serving 140 destinations in France and carrying over 80 million passengers a year. From the Paris/CDG TGV rail station, more than 50 trains a day serve 28 rail stations in France, London and Brussels. TGV trains are ultramodern and travel on a network of high-speed rail corridors that accommodate operating speeds in excess of 180 miles per hour. TGV trains, with 350 seats in “first” and “second” classes, feature refreshments and on-board hostesses.
Continental will become the first airline with air/rail codeshare partners on both sides of the Atlantic. In March 2002, Continental and Amtrak launched an air/rail codeshare agreement, allowing travelers to transfer easily between Amtrak`s northeast rail service in four U.S. cities and Continental flights at the airline`s New York/Newark hub.
Continental Airlines is the world`s sixth-largest airline and has more than 2,100 daily departures. With 122 domestic and 90 international destinations, Continental has the broadest global route network of any U.S. airline, including extensive service throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and carries approximately 45 million passengers per year on the newest jet fleet among major U.S. airlines. With 48,000 employees, Continental is one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For in America.” Fortune ranked Continental the No. 2 Most Admired Global Airline and No. 30 Most Admired Global Company in March 2002. For more company information, visit continental.com .
In Europe and the Middle East, Continental serves 16 cities in 11 countries, operating up to 161 departures weekly to its U.S. gateway hubs at New York/Newark, Houston and Cleveland, with onward connections to cities throughout North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. Continental`s alliance carriers in Europe include Air Europa, British European (flybe.), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways.