CONTINENTAL AIRLINES JOINS STAR ALLIANCE Strategic Network Expansion in the Americas, Asia and Europe. New York/Newark Becomes New Star Alliance Hub
NEW YORK CITY, USA – October 27, 2009 – The CEOs of the Star Alliance member carriers today welcomed the alliance’s 25th member: Continental Airlines. Continental’s joining Star Alliance will further enhance the alliance’s three main customer benefits: global reach, worldwide recognition and seamless travel. Continental’s membership follows last year’s announcement of a strategic partnership between Continental and United Airlines. Experts from both airlines and Star Alliance have been working together over the last 18 months in order to ensure the first successful transition of a major airline from one global alliance to another.
“Bringing Continental Airlines into Star Alliance has been a truly unique experience. This is the first time an airline has moved directly from one alliance to another and I would like to thank all those involved in ensuring a smooth switch,” said Jaan Albrecht, CEO Star Alliance. “Our travellers can now begin to appreciate the advantages Continental brings to the Star Alliance network, while Continental’s customers now enjoy enhanced alliance benefits.”
“Continental’s transition to Star Alliance is one of the most important strategic moves we have accomplished in my career at Continental,” said Chairman and CEO Larry Kellner. “Our membership in Star Alliance positions us to deliver a broader network to our customers, and to achieve better business results and a stronger future for my co-workers, our customers and communities as a result of the benefits from participating in the world’s largest airline alliance.”
“Continental’s joining makes the Star Alliance network even more extensive, offering our customers the broadest global access and greatest choice of service,” said Glenn Tilton, chairman and CEO of United Airlines. “We welcome our partner, Continental, which brings tremendous value to our customers, our employees and the communities we serve.”
Due to the limited overlap between Continental’s and Star Alliance’s networks, Star Alliance customers now have a choice of 19,500 daily flights serving some 1,071 airports in 171 countries. The main network enhancements are taking place in North America, to and from Latin America, as well as across the North Atlantic and the Pacific.
In North America, Continental adds its three hubs – New York/Newark, Houston and Cleveland – to the network, providing more choice to Star Alliance customers. Continental’s extensive Latin America network will increase travel options for Star Alliance customers to Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Across the North Atlantic, Continental will also add choice for Star Alliance travellers, especially on the very important New York to London market. Options in the Pacific region are enhanced by Continental’s trans-Pacific flights to mainland China, Hong Kong and Japan, and by Continental Micronesia flights centered on Guam.
In addition to the network benefits, Continental flights can now be used to create itineraries for the Star Alliance Round the World fare as well as for the North American Airpass. Moreover, Continental will sell all 13 Star Alliance fare products and as well as participate in the Star Alliance Conventions Plus product.
As part of its Star Alliance membership, Continental OnePass members will now be able to earn and redeem miles on all other Star Alliance member carriers. OnePass Gold and Platinum Elite members automatically have Star Alliance Gold Status, and will receive benefits such as access to more than 954 lounges, extra-baggage allowance, priority baggage delivery, dedicated check-in counters and priority waitlist (reservation) and airport stand-by. OnePass Silver Elite have automatic Star Alliance Silver Status, entitling them to priority waitlist (reservation) and airport stand-by.
Participants in any of the existing Star Alliance Frequent Flyer Programmes can now earn and redeem miles on Continental. Moreover, OnePass members will be able to use their miles as part of Star Alliance Upgrade Awards for a one cabin upgrade when travelling on participating* Star Alliance member carriers.
The Star Alliance network aims to provide fast and convenient connections for customers needing to transfer between flights of different Star Alliance member carriers. Effective immediately, through check-in from the originating airport is available for any itinerary involving a Continental flight in conjunction with another Star Alliance flight. In addition, all Star Alliance Connection Centres will now also encompass all flights operated by Continental. These special behind the scene centres look after passengers and baggage transferring between Star Alliance member carriers, in case of flight irregularities. These centres are currently in operation at selected airports across the network like, Frankfurt, Munich, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo-Narita and Bangkok. Moreover, plans are already underway to co-locate member carriers in the same airport area or terminal at numerous destinations served by Continental. By the end of this year Continental will have physically moved airport operations at 11 airports around the world. For instance, on October 27, Continental moves to Terminal 1 at Frankfurt and on November 1, to the South Wing of Terminal 1 at Tokyo/Narita. Other airports where co-location moves have been made include: Beijing, Chicago, Honolulu and Shanghai.