Tag Archives: Continental Airlines

Bloomberg: United struggles with its computer system, canceling flights and stranding pilots

United Airlines (Chicago) is still struggling with merging the two companies and its computer system assigning flights with crews according to this report by Bloomberg. Almost 1,500 flights were cancelled since December 30, mostly due to severe weather. However some of the cancellations were due to a system which often crashed. The problems with crew scheduling started when the airline shifted its 10,200 pilots to the scheduling system used previously by Continental Airlines. Some of the information was apparently out of date, still showing retired or deceased pilots according to the report.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-424 ER N66056 (msn 29451) departs from Brussels.

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United Airlines quietly retires two Boeing aircraft types in late May

United Airlines (Chicago) without any fanfare or publicity retired two classic Boeing types again in late May according to Airline Business. Former Continental Airlines Boeing 737-524 N62631 (msn 27535) operated the last Boeing 737-500 flight (UA 1705) between Cleveland and Houston (Bush Intercontinental) on May 30.

Additionally Boeing 767-224 ER N68159 (msn 30438) operated the last 767-200 flight between Munich and Newark on May 27.

Ironically United had previously retired both types but inherited both types again when the Continental fleet was merged. The 737-500 was previously retired on August 27, 2009 and the 767-200 on March 28, 2005.

Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. N62631 when it was with Continental Airlines.

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Bottom Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Sister ship Boeing 767-224 ER N73152 (msn 30431) lands at Zurich.

Historic Photo of the Day – May 26, 2013

Continental’s Houston Proud Bird Express (Emerald Air) Douglas DC-9-14 N38641 (msn 47060) HOU (Keith Armes). Image: 912258.

Copyright Photo: Keith Armes.

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United Airlines unveils a new look in celebration of 25 years at Newark Terminal C

United new uniforms

United Airlines (Chicago) today will celebrate the 25thanniversary of the airline’s Terminal C hub facility at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Travelers arriving and departing at Newark Liberty today will join United employees in an anniversary celebrationbetween 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the upper level United Airlines ticket counter, where customers will have opportunities to earn prizes, travel discounts and bonus MileagePlus miles, and see the airline’s new uniforms for the first time. The airline is also setting up a temporary exhibit during the two-hour period demonstrating how air travel has evolved since 1988.

United Terminal C EWR (PANYNJ)(LR)

Map of Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey).

“We are pleased to celebrate United’s long history at our Newark hub – a premier global gateway and a powerful economic engine,” said Jeff Smisek, United’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We continue to make investments in our terminal facilities, our services and our people to ensure United’s Terminal C remains a great place for our customers and co-workers.”

“Thanks to the Port Authority’s strong partnership with United, Newark Liberty has become not only a world-class airport but also an important driver of economic growth, jobs and development for the entire region,” said Port AuthorityChairman David Samson. “The continued investment in Newark Liberty’s facilities will ensure that the airport, and Terminal C specifically, remains a modern, premier gateway for travelers.”

As part of the event, Smisek will outline the airline’s plans for further investments at Terminal C, including:

  • a redesign of the airline’s check-in facilities
  • installation in gate areas of flight-information displays that offer customers more detailed information about their flights
  • construction of a widebody maintenance hangar that economic development officials anticipate will drive $52 million in economic activity in the region
  • a new checked-baggage screening system.

In addition: 

  • Nearly two dozen United pilots, flight attendants, customer service agents and ramp workers will participate in an in-terminal fashion show that will debut the new uniforms that United employees worldwide will wear beginning onJune 25. This is the first time that all employees at the new United will wear the same uniforms.
  • Buddy Valastro, co-owner of the Hoboken, N.J. bakery Carlo’s Bakery and star of the TLC program “Cake Boss,” will join the program to present a cake made specifically for the occasion.
  • At 1:15 p.m., the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner to fly from any of the three New York-area airports since the aircraft re-entered service will depart for Houston.
  • This afternoon, United will send photos of iconic locations throughout Manhattan via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, meeting up with the company’s friends and followers in social media.

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United in New York/Newark: The Hub for Wall Street

With more than 13,000 local employees, United is the New York area’s largest airline, offering more flights and more seats from the region to more destinations around the world than any other airline in history.

Since the first flight from Terminal C – the 6:15 a.m. departure of Continental flight 839 to Denver from gate 72 on the morning of May 22, 1988 – flights to and from the facility have enabled investment and economic development for theNew York metropolitan area, including Newark. In 1988, Continental offered service to 57 airports from Newark Airport.United today offers more than 400 flights each day from Newark Liberty to more than 150 destinations in North andSouth America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, giving New York-area travelers more flights and more destinations via United and United Express than any other airline.

Newark Liberty’s location and rail links make it the most convenient hub airport for travelers originating in north and central New Jersey, parts of New York City including Wall Street, and southern New York State.

The airline also offers New York-area travelers more flat beds in premium cabins and more extra-legroom economy seats than any other airline. In addition, the airline boasts:

  • the most saver-style award seats for frequent flyers among the largest U.S. global carriers, according to the 4thannual Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey published this month by IdeaWorksCompany.
  • more aircraft offering satellite Wi-Fi and live television than any other U.S. airline.

Terminal C History

Copyright Photo: Dave Campbell/AirlinersGallery.com. The Boeing 737 and the pictured 727-200 were the mainstay aircraft in the PEOPLExpress fleet. Former Braniff Boeing 727-227 N553PE (msn 20774) poses for the camera at Chicago (O’Hare).

In 1985, People Express Airlines (PEOPLExpress) and the Port Authority agreed to remodel the existing Terminal C facility. After its 1987 mergers with Peoplexpress and New York Air (New York), which itself had a large Newark presence, Continental Airlines completed the terminal redevelopment project in conjunction with the Port Authority.

Copyright Photo: Fernandez Imaging/AirlinersGallery.com. The New York Air operation is pictured at nearby LaGuardia Airport.

In 2001, Continental Airlines (Houston) opened the Global Gateway, a $3.8 billion public-private partnership. The centerpiece of that project was the third concourse in Terminal C, “C-3,” designed to be bright and airy with gates constructed to enable international travelers to arrive at Terminal C – rather than solely at Terminal B – adding convenience and quicker connections.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Continental’s McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 N68046 (msn 47800) in the 1984 livery.

The Global Gateway also introduced the only rail station at a New York-area airport located in close proximity to the terminals, enabling Newark Liberty travelers direct AirTrain rail access to New York City’s Pennsylvania Station, New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut and Philadelphia.

Continental and the Port Authority also outfitted Terminal C with new roadways, parking garages, expanded electronic ticketing facilities, new terminal designs to facilitate more efficient security screening and an automated baggage handling system.

Top Copyright Photo: United Airlines. Crew members showcase the new uniforms.

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Route Map: How the Newark Hub has grown (click on the map for the full-size view):


United reports a 1Q net loss of $417 million

United Airlines (Chicago) today reported a first-quarter 2013 net loss of $325 million, or $0.98 per share, excluding $92 million of special charges. Including special charges, UAL reported a first-quarter 2013 net loss of $417 million, or $1.26 per share.

  • The company achieved its best first-quarter on-time performance in a decade, with 81.0 percent of mainline flights, including both domestic and international flights, arriving within 14 minutes of scheduled arrival time.
  • UAL’s first-quarter 2013 consolidated passenger revenue increased 0.7 percent year-over-year on a consolidated capacity reduction of 4.9 percent. First-quarter consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 5.9 percent compared to the same period in 2012.
  • First-quarter 2013 consolidated unit costs (CASM), holding fuel rate and profit sharing constant and excluding special charges and third-party business expense, increased 7.2 percent year-over-year on a consolidated capacity reduction of 4.9 percent. First-quarter 2013 consolidated CASM increased 6.5 percent year-over-year.
  • UAL ended the first quarter with $6.4 billion in unrestricted liquidity.

“Our co-workers pulled together in the first quarter to significantly improve our operational performance and customer service despite challenging weather and high load factors, and I want to thank them for their hard work,” said Jeff Smisek, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Although this was a difficult quarter financially, I’m very proud of our team.”

First-Quarter Revenue and Capacity

For the first quarter of 2013, total revenue was $8.7 billion, an increase of 1.4 percent year-over-year. First-quarter consolidated passenger revenue increased 0.7 percent to $7.6 billion, compared to the same period in 2012.

Consolidated revenue passenger miles (RPMs) decreased 1.2 percent on a consolidated capacity (available seat miles) decrease of 4.9 percent year-over-year for the first quarter. First-quarter 2013 consolidated load factor was 81.1 percent, an increase of 3.0 points versus the first quarter of 2012.

First-quarter 2013 consolidated PRASM increased 5.9 percent compared to the same period in 2012. Consolidated yield for the first quarter of 2013 increased 1.9 percent year-over-year.

Mainline RPMs in the first quarter of 2013 decreased 1.6 percent on a mainline capacity decrease of 5.0 percent year-over-year, resulting in a first-quarter mainline load factor of 81.4 percent. Mainline yield for the first quarter of 2013 increased 1.3 percent compared to the same period in 2012. First-quarter 2013 mainline PRASM increased 5.0 percent year-over-year.

“We are encouraged by our unit revenue performance this quarter, and we are working hard to build on our overall revenue progress this year,” said Jim Compton, UAL’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer. “My co-workers’ continued focus on our operational performance and customer service directly contributed to our improved revenue results.”

Passenger revenue for the first quarter of 2013 and period-to-period comparisons of related statistics for UAL’s mainline and regional operations are as follows:

1Q 2013PassengerRevenue  (millions) Passenger Revenue vs.1Q 2012 PRASM  vs. 1Q 2012 Yield vs. 1Q 2012 Available Seat Miles   vs.
1Q 2012
Domestic $2,909 (1.1%) 3.6% 1.1% (4.5%)
Atlantic 1,185 (0.3%) 11.0% 6.9% (10.2%)
Pacific 1,143 4.0% 7.2% 0.7% (3.0%)
Latin America 701 (3.4%) (2.6%) (5.6%) (0.8%)
International 3,029 0.5% 6.5% 1.5% (5.6%)
Mainline 5,938 (0.3%) 5.0% 1.3% (5.0%)
Regional 1,621 4.3% 8.8% 2.9% (4.1%)
Consolidated $7,559 0.7% 5.9% 1.9% (4.9%)

Year-over-year cargo and other revenue in the first quarter of 2013 increased 6.2 percent, or $68 million, to $1.2 billion.

First-Quarter Costs

First-quarter total operating expenses increased $112 million, or 1.3 percent, year-over-year. Third-party business expense was $121 million in the first quarter.

Consolidated and mainline CASM, excluding special charges and third-party business expense, increased 6.8 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively, in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period of 2012. First-quarter consolidated and mainline CASM, including special charges, increased 6.5 and 7.9 percent year-over-year, respectively.

In the first quarter, consolidated and mainline CASM, excluding special charges and third-party business expense and holding fuel rate and profit sharing constant, increased 7.2 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively, compared to the results for the same period in 2012.

“We are focused companywide on operating more efficiently. Moreover, we are building an infrastructure to achieve our return-on-invested-capital goals and generate long-term returns,” said John Rainey, UAL’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Our balance sheet is the healthiest it’s been in years, and that benefits everyone—co-workers, customers and investors.”

Liquidity, Cash Flow and Return on Invested Capital

UAL ended the quarter with $6.4 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $1.0 billion of undrawn commitments under its new revolving credit facility. During the first quarter, the company generated $393 million of operating cash flow and had gross capital expenditures and purchase deposits of $526 million. The company made debt and capital lease principal payments of $1.3 billion in the first quarter, including $1.0 billion of prepayments. The company’s return on invested capital for the 12 months ended March 31, 2013, was 8.0 percent, below the company’s goal of 10 percent.

First-Quarter 2013 Events

  • United Airlines achieved a U.S. Department of Transportation first-quarter domestic on-time arrival rate of 81.4 percent, exceeding 80 percent in each month of the quarter. For international flights, United recorded an on-time arrival rate of 79.7 percent for the quarter. The on-time arrival rates are based on flights arriving within 14 minutes of scheduled arrival time. This was the best first-quarter on-time performance for the carrier in a decade.
  • United co-workers earned cash incentive payments totaling $22 million for on-time performance during the first quarter.
  • Co-workers earned $4.4 million for reaching the company’s customer-satisfaction target for the first quarter, as measured through online surveys of MileagePlus members flying United and United Express. United also awarded $125,000 to select employees of United and United Express for excellence in customer service as part of the company’s Outperform Recognition Program.
  • United continued its comprehensive customer service training program for all customer-facing agents and flight attendants worldwide, and nearly 13,000 co-workers completed the training in the first quarter.
  • During the first quarter, United replaced its $1.2 billion term loan due 2014 with a new $900 million term loan due 2019, and reduced the principal balance by $300 million in the process. Simultaneously, United entered into a new $1.0 billion revolving credit facility due 2018 that replaced the company’s $500 million undrawn revolving credit facility due 2015, bolstering the company’s unrestricted liquidity position.
  • The company pre-paid $400 million of its 9.875 percent Senior Secured Notes and $200 million of its 12.0 percent Senior Second Lien Notes during the first quarter.
  • United broke ground on a new widebody aircraft maintenance hangar at Newark Liberty International Airport and is constructing a new maintenance hangar at Washington Dulles International Airport, boosting United’s maintenance capabilities on the East Coast. The company signed a 10-year lease extension on its Maintenance Operations Center at San Francisco International Airport, United’s largest maintenance facility.
  • United opened the airline’s new employee health clinic at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, offering convenient on-site health services to co-workers at no charge.
  • The company took delivery of six Boeing 737-900ERs and removed from service three Boeing 737-500s and two Boeing 757-200s.
  • The company reached an agreement to sell up to 30 Boeing 757-200 aircraft to FedEx.
  • During the quarter, the company expanded its industry-leading global route network, launching new nonstop service to Nassau, Bahamas; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Oklahoma City, Okla. United also added two new cities to its network, Fayetteville, N.C., and Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. The company announced future new nonstop markets, including the company’s first nonstop service to Dickinson, N.D., as well as additional service to Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; San Jose del Cabo, Mexico; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; Anchorage, Alaska; Traverse City, Mich.; and Charleston, S.C. The airline also announced it will resume nonstop daily service from Chicago to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • United relaunched the Premier Access program offering customers access to expedited check-in and security checkpoint lanes along with priority boarding.
  • United launched a new baggage delivery option, enabling customers to have their checked bags delivered directly to their final destinations and skip baggage claim upon arrival. The airline will expand the service to more than 190 domestic airports in the coming months.
  • The company unveiled a new lounge standard at its United Club in Terminal 2 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the first to feature a new design that the airline will use when building and renovating lounges worldwide. The airline is investing more than $50 million to renovate many of its United Clubs, with three more United Clubs to be renovated this year.
  • The carrier introduced its first reconfigured transcontinental “p.s.,” Premium Service, aircraft equipped with flat-bed seats, all-new interiors, personal on-demand entertainment, Wi-Fi connectivity, in-seat power and USB ports. United offers p.s. on all nonstop flights between New York Kennedy and both Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • The company ramped up installation of global satellite-based Wi-Fi on its mainline fleet and currently offers satellite-based Wi-Fi on 38 of its aircraft, becoming the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer customers the ability to stay connected while traveling on long-haul overseas routes.
  • United introduced a new application for Windows Phone 8 users. With the launch of the Windows app, United is now available on all mobile platforms, including iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
  • The company continued to install flat-bed seats in premium cabins on its international fleet and now has more than 7,000 new flat-bed seats on 182 aircraft, more than any other U.S. carrier. In addition, Economy Plus is now available on nearly all of United’s mainline fleet.
  • UAL merged its two operating subsidiaries, United and Continental, into a single operating entity, United, on March 31, 2013.

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. The Continental Airlines name is being kept alive with this United Airlines’ Boeing 737-924 ER WL N75436 (msn 33531) painted in Continental’s 1947 Blue Skyway retrojet scheme.

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Continental Airlines is cleared of any criminal responsibility in a French court for the July 25, 2000 Air France Concorde crash near Paris


Continental Airlines (Houston) was cleared yesterday (November 29) of any criminal responsibility in a French court for the Concorde crash in Paris in 2000 that killed 113 people. The ruling absolves a Continental mechanic of involuntary manslaughter according to this report by Reuters. The mechanic had fashioned a non-standard titanium strip that fell off a Continental McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft that fell onto the runway just before the Air France (Paris) Concorde attempted its ill-fated takeoff. Air France flight AF 4590 was scheduled to fly from Charles de Gaulle International Airport near Paris, to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on July 25, 2000. Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde 101 F-BTSC (msn 203) crashed into a hotel in Gonesse, France. All 100 passengers and the nine crew members on board died in the fiery crash.

Today Continental Airlines is now part of United Continental Holdings.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati. Concorde 100 F-BTSC (msn 203) is pictured at Paris (CDG) in March 1976 in the original 1959 delivery color scheme. The airliner was originally leased by Air France from Aerospatiale on January 1, 1976 as the earlier model of the type. It was converted to a Concorde 101 in June 1980.

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United and Continental pilots have a tentative agreement, subject to an approval vote

United Airlines‘ (Chicago) and Continental Airlines‘ (Houston) pilots may finally have an integration contract agreement that will allow the two groups to be merged. ALPA has issued the following statement:

The Master Executive Councils of the Continental and United pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association International, have voted to accept a tentative agreement on a joint collective bargaining agreement reached with United Continental Holdings, Inc. The agreement now goes before the pilots for a ratification vote.

Captain Jay Heppner, Chairman of the United Master Executive Council and Captain Jay Pierce, Chairman of the Continental Master Executive Council, said the following in a joint statement:

“With this step, we are closer to a new contract that will provide gains in compensation, work rules, job protections, and retirement and benefits for our pilots and their families. We will finally begin to see the benefits of the merger that were promised to us, and an end to the concessionary and bankruptcy-era contracts we have lived and worked under for more than a decade.

“This agreement represents years of determination and unity demonstrated by the pilots of both airlines during the two-and-a-half years of negotiations for a new contract following the merger announcement. Pilots from both United and Continental Airlines will now determine whether this agreement addresses their contributions to the success of the airline.

“This step is also good news for our passengers and United employees. Once there is pilot approval of a contract, the operations of the two airlines can finally begin to be integrated. We can begin to deliver on the promise of the world’s best airline.”

Integration of seniority lists for the two pilots groups will occur after ratification of the tentative agreement. The process is independent of airline management and involves negotiations between the two pilot groups. Absent an agreement, binding arbitration will be used to settle any remaining differences. The process follows a predefined timeline following contract ratification that was agreed upon by the two pilot groups shortly after the merger was announced.

Copyright Photo: Fred Seggie. Boeing 777-222 ER N784UA (msn 26951) climbs away from London (Heathrow). N784UA is painted in the 2004 livery of United. The United fleet is adopting the older 1991 color scheme of Continental Airlines.

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Continental’s flight attendants approve the new contract

United Airlines (Chicago) has announced that flight attendants from the Continental subsidiary, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), ratified a new labor agreement.

The new agreement covers approximately 9,000 United flight attendants at the company’s Continental subsidiary located throughout the United States. The company and the AFA will soon commence negotiations for a joint collective bargaining agreement for flight attendants at United, Continental and Continental Micronesia. Flight attendants from the company’s United subsidiary ratified a new four-year contract in February 2012.

The AFA represents more than 24,000 flight attendants at the company’s United and Continental subsidiaries.

Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl.

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United Airlines adds its first Boeing 767-300 with Blended Winglets and new interior

United Airlines (Chicago) has added its first Boeing 767-300 with Aviation Partners Boeing Blended Winglets.

On June 20, 2011 Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) announced that United Continental Holdings Inc., the parent company of United Airlines, had ordered Blended Winglets for its 767-300 ERs. Initial installations of the systems, on 14 aircraft, were planned to commence in 2012. With this order, United Continental Holdings becomes APB’s largest single customer having ordered more than 375 Blended Winglet systems to date.

United Airlines or Continental Airlines has either been the launch customer for, or otherwise ordered, Blended Winglets for every Boeing commercial aircraft type that APB has certified its product for – in chronological order this includes the: 757-200; 737-800; 737-700; 737-900; 737-900 ER; 737-500; 737-300; 757-300 and now the 767-300 ER. APB estimates that United Continental’s investment in Blended Winglets is now saving the airline approximately $200 million per year in jet fuel costs.

Blended Winglet technology installed on a 767-300 ER reduces fuel burn by up to 500,000 gallons per aircraft per year while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by over 5,000 tons per year. In addition, 767-300 ER Blended Winglets can extend the range of the aircraft by as much as 320 nautical miles, or increase the payload of the aircraft by as much as 16,000 pounds. Since certification in 2009, APB has taken orders (firm and options) for over 340 767-300 ER Blended Winglet systems.

United Airlines today (June 11) introduced N674UA into international service with its newly reconfigured interior, with this evening’s departure of flight UA 908 from Chicago (O’Hare) to Amsterdam. The aircraft now features flat-bed seats in an all-new United BusinessFirst cabin, along with an upgraded inflight entertainment system throughout.

The aircraft is the first of 14 to get the new interior, offering 30 seats in United BusinessFirst, 49 in Economy Plus and 135 in Economy. In addition to flat-bed seats, United BusinessFirst offers a 15.4″ touchscreen monitor delivering on-demand inflight audio/video content, electrical and USB outlets for charging electronic devices, an iPod jack enabling customers to play content from their iPod-compatible devices and a five-course meal with fine wines. United Economy Plus seats provide more legroom and more recline than Economy seats. Each Economy Plus and Economy seat features a 9″ touchscreen on-demand, inflight entertainment system and all Economy rows have access to electrical outlets. On long-haul international flights, United offers Economy Plus and Economy customers complimentary food, soft drinks, juices, tea and coffee.

Top Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin. Boeing 767-322 ER N674UA (msn 29242) arrives at the San Francisco hub on June 10, 2012 as flight UA 499 from the Chicago (O’Hare) hub.

Bottom Copyright Photo: United.

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