Continental Airlines today reported a December consolidated (mainline plus regional) load factor of 83.0 percent, 3.1 points above the December 2008 consolidated load factor, and a mainline load factor of 83.5 percent, 3.1 points above the December 2008 mainline load factor. The carrier reported a domestic mainline December load factor of 85.1 percent, 1.1 points above the December 2008 domestic mainline load factor, and an international mainline load factor of 81.9 percent, 5.2 points above December 2008. All four December load factors were records for the month.
During December, Continental recorded a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on-time arrival rate of 70.7 percent and a mainline segment completion factor of 98.9 percent.
In December 2009, Continental flew 7.5 billion consolidated revenue passenger miles (RPMs) and 9.1 billion consolidated available seat miles (ASMs), resulting in a consolidated traffic increase of 6.0 percent and a capacity increase of 2.1 percent as compared to December 2008. In December 2009, Continental flew 6.7 billion mainline RPMs and 8.1 billion mainline ASMs, resulting in a mainline traffic increase of 6.3 percent and a mainline capacity increase of 2.3 percent as compared to December 2008. Domestic mainline traffic was 3.5 billion RPMs in December 2009, up 3.5 percent from December 2008, and domestic mainline capacity was 4.1 billion ASMs, up 2.2 percent from December 2008.
For December 2009, consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (RASM) is estimated to have decreased between 3.5 and 4.5 percent compared to December 2008, while mainline RASM is estimated to have decreased between 4.5 and 5.5 percent. For November 2009, consolidated passenger RASM decreased 8.5 percent compared to November 2008, while mainline passenger RASM decreased 9.8 percent compared to November 2008.
Continental ended the fourth quarter 2009 with an unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments balance of approximately $2.85 billion.
Continental’s regional operations had a record December load factor of 78.5 percent, 2.4 points above the December 2008 regional load factor. Regional RPMs were 801.6 million and regional ASMs were 1,021.6 million in December 2009, resulting in a traffic increase of 3.2 percent and a capacity increase of 0.1 percent versus December 2008.
Continental Airlines is the world’s fifth largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 2,400 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 130 domestic and 132 international destinations. Continental is a member of Star Alliance, which overall offers 19,700 daily flights to 1,077 airports in 175 countries through its 26 member airlines. With more than 41,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with its regional partners, carries approximately 63 million passengers per year.