Continental Airlines to stop flying to 15 cities, trim services to 40 more

Monday, June 16, 2008, 12:15 by Aviation Correspondent

Continental Airlines, based in Houston, Texas, the United States, has announced that it will abolish flights to a total of 15 cities within the United States as well as overseas and also trim flights to about 40 more cities from September 3, 2008, because of soaring costs of aviation fuel. Continental, the fourth-largest airline in the United States based on revenue passenger miles, operates flights to destinations throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions.

Continental Airlines, which carries 4.2% of the passengers at Logan International Airport, Boston, the United Stats, had said a week ago that it would cut its schedule by 11% in the fourth quarter of 2008, retire 67 planes and cut 3,000 jobs.

The 15 cities to which Continental Airlines are stopping flights include the following 9 destinations in the United States: Oakland, Palm Springs, Reno, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Green Bay, Chattanooga, Toledo, and Montgomery (Alabama). The 6 international destinations are: Denpasar (Bali, Indonesia), Cali (Colombia), Cologne (Germany), Guayaquil (Ecuador), Monclova (Mexico), and Santiago (Dominican Republic).

The carrier will close gates and ticket counters at these 15 airports, which represent about 5% of the 286 destinations it served a year earlier.

Continental Airlines is also cutting service at hub airports in Houston and Cleveland in the United States. It will stop flying from its main hub at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to 12 airports in the United States, including Dulles International Airport.

From Cleveland Airport, Continental Airlines will discontinue flying to Dulles and 22 other destinations.

In a statement, Continental Airlines said that customers already booked on flights that are going to be affected would be contacted to make alternative arrangements.

The airline’s hometown hub in Houston, Texas, will have 7.9% less seating capacity starting in September 2008. The cut in Cleveland will be 13%, among other reductions.

Continental Airlines’ seating capacity will fall by 11% in the fourth quarter of 2008 after the peak summer travel season ends, the statement said.

The smallest cutback at a hub of Continental Airlines will be at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, where seating capacity will be clipped by 3%.

Continental’s flights from its hub in Guam, an island in the Western Pacific Ocean, from which Continental serves Pacific destinations, will be reduced by 22%.