Continental Airlines Starts New Route Between New York and Beijing

NEW YORK, June 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Continental Airlines (NYSE:CAL) today will become the first U.S. passenger airline to initiate flights to mainland China in nearly 20 years as it inaugurates new daily service from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport to Beijing.

Continental, which serves more cities around the world than any other carrier, is launching service to Beijing as part of a major international expansion this year, including inauguration of six new transatlantic routes between May and November.

The New York-Beijing service is operated with a 283-seat Boeing 777 aircraft, including 48 seats in BusinessFirst and 235 seats in economy.

Flight 89 departs Liberty each day at 11:10 a.m., arriving in Beijing at 12:55 p.m. the next day. Returning, flight 88 departs Beijing at 3:05 p.m., arriving at Liberty at 4:35 p.m. the same day. The flight is approximately 13 hours.

This flight is the only nonstop service between New York and mainland China operated by a U.S. airline. Travelers save hours by avoiding the need to make a connection in another city when traveling between New York and China. Continental will also offer online connecting service between Beijing and points throughout the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

“With the addition of our new route to Beijing, Continental’s New York hub adds yet another dimension to our network and even more value for our customers,” said Continental Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Larry Kellner, who is hosting an inaugural departure ceremony at Liberty. “If the bookings we have received already are an early indication of the demand we will experience for this flight, it is clear that this is a flight that the market has been waiting for and strongly needed.”

Continental has customized its award-winning service to appeal to Chinese travelers, including selecting appropriate food service and inflight entertainment, and Mandarin-speaking ground and cabin staff.

With a population of 1.3 billion, the People’s Republic of China is the largest country in the world. Beijing is the nation’s capital — home to more than 12.5 million people. Although a largely industrial city with textile mills, steel factories, and chemical and manufacturing plants, a significant portion of Beijing’s economy revolves around the high-technology sector. As the country’s cultural and political center, Beijing is a crucial transportation hub for the rest of China.

Shanghai Route Application Pending

Continental in April formally submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for approval to operate nonstop flights from Liberty to Shanghai, China. If approved, Continental will introduce flights in March 2007, also using Boeing 777 aircraft.

Continental’s 2007 Liberty to Shanghai service will provide thousands of New York passengers with much faster and much more convenient air service between New York and Shanghai. Continental will also offer online connecting service between Shanghai and points throughout the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

Obtaining nonstop service from Liberty to Shanghai will enable Continental to provide service in the largest U.S.-China market, which today lacks critical U.S. carrier nonstop service. Continental’s Shanghai flight will provide a competitive challenge to other Shanghai services.

In March 2001, Continental started service on the Liberty-Hong Kong route which, at 8,060 miles, is one of the longest flights in the world.

International Expansion at Newark Liberty International Airport

The Beijing route is being launched at the same time Continental is beginning a number of trans-Atlantic routes from its New York hub. The carrier inaugurated service to Bristol on May 19 and Belfast on May 26. Flights were inaugurated to Stockholm on June 2 and to Hamburg on June 9. Service to Berlin will begin on June 30 and flights to Delhi start on Nov. 1.

As a result of this expansion, Continental becomes the third largest U.S. airline in the transatlantic market, pushing United into fourth place.

Continental Airlines is the world’s sixth-largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 3,000 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 150 domestic and 130 international destinations, more than any other carrier in the world. Nearly 400 additional points are served via SkyTeam alliance airlines, which include Aeromexico, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Korean Air and Northwest Airlines. With 41,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with Continental Express, carries approximately 56 million passengers per year. Continental consistently earns awards and critical acclaim for both its operation and its corporate culture.

For the second consecutive year, FORTUNE magazine named Continental the No. 1 Most Admired Global Airline on its 2005 list of Most Admired Global Companies. Continental was also included in the publication’s annual “Top 50″ list, which ranks all companies, across a wide variety of industries, that appear in the Global Most Admired Companies issue. Continental again won major awards at the 2005 OAG Airline of the Year Awards including “Airline of the Year” and “Best Airline Based in North America” for the second consecutive year, and “Best Executive/Business Class” for the third consecutive year. For more company information, visit www.continental.com .

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