Flights to commence March 29 next year
Continental Airlines, the world’s fifth largest airline, announced that it will launch nonstop flights to London/Heathrow from both its New York and Houston hubs on March 29, 2008, subject to government approval and slot approval. Continental will offer twice-daily nonstop service to Heathrow from both Newark Liberty International Airport and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The airline will continue to offer nonstop flights to London/Gatwick from both New York (twice daily) and Houston (daily), as well as Cleveland (daily, seasonal). From a cargo perspective, the carrier is increasing its London pallet capability by 28% and the virtual impact, growing its capacity as though it was adding an additional Boeing 777 operation into the market.
‘At last we will be able to give our customers something they have long requested—the opportunity to fly to both London’s main airports with their preferred airline,’ said Larry Kellner, Continental’s chairman and CEO. ‘At the same time, we will be able to show transAtlantic travelers already using Heathrow what they have been missing. We look forward to the chance to compete at Europe’s most important business airport.’
Continental will own each of the Heathrow arrival/departure slots necessary to operate this schedule. The new Heathrow flights have been made possible by the Open Skies agreement between the US and the European Union signed earlier this year, and by Continental’s acquisition of the necessary slots at Heathrow Airport. Until now, the airline has been prevented from operating to Heathrow by the restrictive US-UK bilateral air services agreement. Continental has served Gatwick Airport since 1985.
Continental’s Heathrow flights will be operated using two aircraft types.
Continental’s Heathrow flights will operate at Terminal 4, which will enable short distances and fast access from its cargo facility to the flight line. Furthermore, the new service will dramatically reduce transit times into Heathrow, by eliminating the need for intercity truck service from Gatwick.
Flights to London from New York Liberty and Houston are easily accessible from numerous cities in the Americas on a connecting basis.
Heathrow will be the eighth UK airport to be served by Continental. The airline already operates nonstop transAtlantic flights to more airports in the UK and Ireland than any other airline: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London/Gatwick and Manchester, as well as Dublin and Shannon.
‘We are very excited to link this crucial cargo gateway with Continental’s passion for quality, express cargo service. We have a knack for deliver-as-promised service and we think that will play well at Heathrow,’ said Jack Boisen, VP Cargo Division. Heathrow will be the 31st destination in Continental’s trans-Atlantic route network. Continental Airlines is the world’s fifth largest airline.