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Airlines inch closer to Shanghai green light

Continental Airlines has praised the Department of Transportation’s tentative decision to award Continental authority to operate daily nonstop service between New York/Newark and Shanghai and through flight service between Cleveland and Shanghai beginning March 2009.“This is a win for Continental’s customers, co-workers, and each of these communities,” said Larry Kellner, Continental’s chairman and chief executive officer. “I want to give a special thanks to my co-workers and to the many parties whose unrelenting support made this service a reality.”

Continental’s new route connecting New York/Newark and Shanghai will provide nonstop flights to the largest U.S.-China market that today lacks daily service. The new route will also provide vast single connecting opportunities from the airline’s New York/New Jersey hub at Newark Liberty, in addition to through flight service between northern Ohio and Shanghai.

Continental commended the Department of Transportation for liberalizing the U.S.-China bilateral agreement and for providing the opportunities for new China service that the airline has been awarded today. Continental also thanks all of the parties whose wide-ranging and significant support was critical to the airline’s efforts to secure this route award, including Continental’s employees, customers, and the airline’s travel, congressional, state and local government, and business partners.

Continental specifically thanked the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Newark Regional Business Partnership and the state of Ohio for their strong support of Continental’s application.

Meanwhile Northwest Airlines was notified by the U.S. Department of Transportation that its bid to provide new nonstop service between Detroit and
Shanghai has been tentatively approved effective March 25, 2009.


  “This is a great development for travelers who need convenient
nonstop service between the U.S. and China. We’re pleased with the
DOT’s decision which clearly serves the DOT’s stated goals of
enhancing competition and providing travelers with a diversity of
choices that maximize public benefits,” said Doug Steenland, Northwest
president and chief executive officer. “We’re grateful to the 136,000
Northwest customers, corporate clients, partners, elected officials
and employees who wrote in support of our bid. I would like to also
thank the U.S. Government for its success in negotiating the new air
service agreement that made today’s announcement possible.”

  Northwest’s WorldGateway hub at Detroit is the largest U.S.
gateway to Asia of any U.S. airline, offering a broad network of
coverage from more than 100 U.S. cities. Detroit lies on the Great
Circle route and is geographically well located to serve the most U.S.
cities with efficient connections and shortest trip times to China.

  Northwest plans to use the Boeing 787 for the new service.
Northwest is the North American service launch customer for the 787, a
fuel-efficient aircraft that will usher in a new era of customer
comfort and convenience. The 787 will be one of the most
environmentally-friendly commercial planes in the sky.