Continental Reports Operational Performance

HOUSTON, March 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/—Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) today reported a February 2003 systemwide mainline jet load factor of 68.9 percent, 3.2 points below last year`s February load factor. The February 2003 domestic mainline jet load factor was 71.0 percent and the international mainline jet load factor was 65.8 percent.
The airline reported a domestic on-time arrival rate of 77.8 percent and a systemwide completion factor of 97.1 percent for its mainline jet operations in February 2003. Operational results for February were adversely impacted by severe weather across Continental`s system for 23 days in February, including the winter storm that paralyzed the northeastern United States over the Presidents` Day weekend.
In February 2003, Continental flew 4.0 billion mainline jet revenue passenger miles (RPMs) and 5.8 billion mainline jet available seat miles (ASMs) systemwide, resulting in a traffic decrease of 6.6 percent and a capacity decrease of 2.3 percent as compared to February 2002. Essentially all of the systemwide ASM decline was due to the winter storm around Presidents` Day. Domestic mainline jet traffic was 2.4 billion RPMs in February 2003, down 7.6 percent from February 2002, and February 2003 domestic mainline jet capacity was 3.4 billion ASMs, down 7.3 percent from February 2002. Approximately 3 percentage points of the decline in domestic ASMs were due to the storm.
Systemwide February 2003 mainline jet passenger revenue per available seat mile (RASM) is estimated to be between flat and a decrease of 2 percent compared to February 2002. For January 2003, RASM increased 3.6 percent as compared to January 2002.
Consolidated breakeven load factor for March 2003 is estimated to be 75 percent. Consolidated breakeven load factor for February 2003 is estimated to have been 83 percent. Actual consolidated breakeven load factor may vary significantly from these estimates depending on actual passenger revenue yields, fuel price and other factors. Month-to-date consolidated load factor information can be found on Continental`s website at in the Investor Relations-Financial/Traffic Releases section.
ExpressJet Airlines, a subsidiary of Continental Airlines doing business as Continental Express, separately reported a record February load factor of 62.2 percent for February 2003, 3.9 points above last year`s February load factor. ExpressJet flew 331.1 million RPMs and 532.2 million ASMs in February 2003, resulting in a traffic increase of 28.3 percent and a capacity increase of 20.2 percent versus February 2002. The ASM increase would have been approximately 3 percentage points higher had it not been for the winter storm.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are not limited to historical facts, but reflect the company`s current beliefs, expectations or intentions regarding future events. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. For examples of such risks and uncertainties, please see the risk factors set forth in the company`s 2002 10-K and its other securities filings, which identify important matters such as terrorist attacks, domestic and international economic conditions, the significant cost of aircraft fuel, labor costs, competition, regulatory matters and industry conditions, including the demand for air travel, the airline pricing environment and industry capacity decisions. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward- looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this press release.