Continental Airlines has announced that it has received tentative approval from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to operate daily year-round service between its Houston hub at Bush Intercontinental Airport and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and through flight service between New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro beginning summer 2009, pending final government approvals.
“Continental is delighted to receive tentative authority for this route, which links two important energy markets,” said Jeff Smisek, Continental’s president and chief operating officer.
He added: “We thank our co-workers and our corporate and agency clients, as well as the many federal, state and local officials who wrote letters in support of the application. We also are grateful to the City of Houston and Houston Airport System and the City of New Orleans and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which filed exhibits in support of Continental’s route proposal.”
Continental said it plans to operate the daily service using a Boeing 767-200 aircraft, with 25 seats in Business First and 149 seats in economy. The proposed nonstop flight will be timed to offer convenient flight connections at Continental’s Houston hub to cities throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
The airline currently operates daily nonstop service between Continental’s New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport and between Houston and São Paulo, with continuing service to Rio de Janeiro.
Continental Airlines is the world’s fifth largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 2,800 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 135 domestic and 132 international destinations.