Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Continental plans service from IAH to Auckland, New Zealand

An odd route addition - and quite honestly WAY to early of a route announcement. United used to fly a 777 from LAX-AKL - but this was canceled after Air NZ started to code-share with UA on all West Coast - AKL flights. Obviously - by the time this route is started it will be United Airlines:

From Continental Airlines:

Continental Airlines Inc. on Wednesday unveiled its revamped Terminal C at its Houston hub and announced plans for new nonstop service from Houston to Auckland, New Zealand starting in 2011.

Pending government approval, Houston-based Continental (NYSE: CAL) said it will begin offering nonstop Boeing 787 flights to Auckland on Nov. 16, 2011, making it just one of three carriers offering nonstop flights between North America and New Zealand.

Auckland will be added to the 63 international destinations that Continental currently serves nonstop from Houston, and will become the 26th destination in Continental’s Pacific network. Continental claims to serve more destinations in the Pacific region than any other U.S. carrier.

Continental also said it's the world’s first airline to formally announce specific, initial route plans for its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet. The airline has firm orders for 25 Dreamliners.

The 787 is a new-technology composite aircraft which touts lower operating costs, better environmental performance and an improved cabin environment for customer comfort. Deliveries to Continental are expected to begin in August 2011.

The airline also on Wednesday revealed what it describes as a more modern and expanded customer check-in facility in Terminal C at its Houston hub at Bush Intercontinental Airport, also known as IAH.

Holden Shannon, Continental’s senior vice president of system operations and real estate, said the firm expanded the ticketing and check-in lobby by more than 15,000 square feet to more than 57,000 square feet and added 56 self-service kiosks, more than double what it did offer, to make the check-in process more efficient for customers.

The $65-million redevelopment project was a partnership between the city of Houston and Continental-- the renovations were funded by the city while the construction was managed by the airline. The infrastructure remodeling was the first major overhaul to Terminal C since the facility opened in 1981.

Continental announced on May 3 plans to merge with Chicago-based United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAUA). The deal, pending shareholder and regulatory approval, is slated to close in the fourth quarter.

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