Here's CO's press release:
Continental Airlines Announces New Service From Houston Hub to Auckland, New Zealand
First route worldwide to be announced for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner
HOUSTON, May 26
HOUSTON, May 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) today announced another major step in development of its Houston hub with plans to begin nonstop Boeing 787 flights to Auckland, New Zealand on Nov. 16, 2011 (subject to government approval).
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 serves more destinations in the Pacific region than any other U.S. carrier.
Continental will be one of just three airlines flying nonstop between North America and New Zealand. At approximately 7,400 miles, the new route will be the longest from Continental's Houston hub. Continental plans to operate the route on a daily basis, with five-times-weekly service during certain periods in the first year of operation.
On May 3, Continental announced that it has agreed to merge with United Airlines in a merger of equals to create the world's leading airline. The success of the Houston Auckland route will be enhanced by the additional traffic flows through Houston that are expected to result from the merger.
First 787 Route Announcement
Continental is the first airline in the world 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 with 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 aircraft will have 228 seats, including 36 of Continental's new flat-bed BusinessFirst seats for the best rest on long-distance flights.
Today Continental also unveiled a modernized and expanded customer check-in facility in Terminal C at its Houston hub at Bush Intercontinental Airport.
"Our new route to Auckland and our new and upgraded facilities at IAH are tangible examples of the emphasis we place on continuing to expand Houston's role in domestic and international aviation," said Jeff Smisek, Continental's chairman, president and CEO. "This hub has ongoing growth opportunities because it has a strategic location, space for expansion, support from the community and an excellent team of Continental co-workers who deliver our clean, safe and reliable service."
"This new flight between Houston and Auckland shows how the Dreamliner will create new opportunities to connect global markets that currently are not being served," said Mario Diaz, Houston Airport System director of aviation. "As the largest hub for Continental, George Bush Intercontinental Airport is honored to be selected as the launch pad for the Continental Boeing 787."
Convenient Connecting Flights
The Houston-Auckland route will benefit from connecting traffic at both ends. Continental's Houston hub will draw passengers from throughout North America. In addition, Houston will be a very competitive connecting hub for travelers on itineraries between Europe and Auckland.
Auckland is home to Air New Zealand, one of the 27 carriers including Continental which are members of Star Alliance. Air New Zealand and its regional airline partners offer service to 20 destinations in New Zealand and seven in Australia, including Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Coolangatta (Gold Coast), Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Following is the preliminary schedule for the new service, planned to take effect Nov. 16, 2011. Continental will begin taking reservations and selling tickets on the new route later this year.
Leave Houston Arrive Auckland Leave Auckland Arrive Houston
11:50 a.m. (same Summer 9:30 p.m. 5:10 a.m. (2 days later) 3:40 p.m. day)
11:55 a.m. (same Winter 9:10 p.m. 6:55 a.m. (2 days later) 5:55 p.m. day)
About Auckland and New Zealand
Auckland's waterside location has fostered the locals' love affair with the sea, earning this place the nickname "City of Sails." The city sprawls over a narrow isthmus between the waters of the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours. A cloak of rainforest covers the surrounding hills, dozens of dormant volcanic cones dot the landscape and inviting islands are scattered throughout the vast Hauraki Gulf. Two of the best island getaways are Waiheke Island and Great Barrier Island.
Auckland's heart beats to a Polynesian rhythm, its people a melting pot of European, South Pacific and Asian cultures and a strong indigenous Maori heritage. This diversity brings with it an abundance of unique dining and shopping experiences.
Auckland's temperate climate, easy access to the coast and variety of activities earn the city consistent "top five" rankings in international lifestyle surveys.
New Zealand's awesome landscapes, lush forests, amazing wildlife and pleasant climate make it a haven for many outdoor activities, and a great place to unwind. New Zealand society is diverse, sophisticated and multicultural and the Kiwi people are known for their honesty, friendliness and openness. A great advantage of New Zealand is that all of its diverse physical, cultural and artistic landscapes are so close to each other.