January 4, 2006 – Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) yesterday reported a December consolidated (mainline plus regional) load factor of 77.7 percent, 1.2 points above last year’s December consolidated load factor. The carrier reported a mainline load factor of 78.0 percent, 0.7 points above the December 2004 mainline load factor, and a domestic mainline load factor of 79.7 percent, 2.6 points above December 2004. All three were records for December. In addition, the airline had an international mainline December load factor of 75.8 percent, 1.7 points below December 2004.
During the month, Continental recorded a U.S. Department of Transportation on-time arrival rate of 71.0 percent and a systemwide mainline completion factor of 99.7 percent.
In December 2005, Continental flew 7.0 billion consolidated revenue passenger miles (RPMs) and 9.0 billion consolidated available seat miles (ASMs), resulting in a traffic increase of 13.1 percent and a capacity increase of 11.4 percent as compared to December 2004. In December 2005, Continental mainline flew 6.2 billion mainline RPMs and 7.9 billion mainline ASMs, resulting in a mainline traffic increase of 11.9 percent and a mainline capacity increase of 10.9 percent as compared to December 2004. Domestic mainline traffic was 3.5 billion RPMs in December 2005, up 9.2 percent from December 2004, and domestic mainline capacity was 4.4 billion ASMs, up 5.7 percent from December 2004.
For the month of December 2005, consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (RASM) is estimated to have increased between 7.0 and 8.0 percent compared to December 2004, while mainline passenger RASM is estimated to have increased between 5.5 and 6.5 percent compared to December 2004. For November 2005, consolidated passenger RASM increased 10.3 percent compared to November 2004 while mainline passenger RASM increased 9.1 percent from November 2004.
Continental ended the year with unrestricted cash and short-term investments of approximately $1.95 billion.
Continental’s regional operations (Continental Express) had a record December load factor of 75.4 percent, 4.6 points above last year’s December load factor. Regional RPMs were 817.2 million and regional ASMs were 1,083.3 million in December 2005, resulting in a traffic increase of 23.1 percent and a capacity increase of 15.6 percent versus December 2004.
Continental Airlines is the world’s sixth-largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 3,000 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 151 domestic and 133 international destinations, more than any other carrier in the world. More than 400 additional points are served via SkyTeam alliance airlines, which include Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM, Korean Air and Northwest Airlines. With over 42,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with Continental Express, carries approximately 60 million passengers per year. Continental consistently earns awards and critical acclaim for both its operation and its corporate culture.
For the second consecutive year, FORTUNE magazine named Continental the No. 1 Most Admired Global Airline on its 2005 list of Most Admired Global Companies. Continental was also included in the publication’s annual “Top 50” list, which ranks all companies, across a wide variety of industries, that appear in the Global Most Admired Companies issue. Continental again won major awards at the 2005 OAG Airline of the Year Awards including “Airline of the Year” and “Best Airline Based in North America” for the second consecutive year, and “Best Executive/Business Class” for the third consecutive year. For more company information, visit continental.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are not limited to historical facts, but reflect the company’s current beliefs, expectations or intentions regarding future events. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. For examples of such risks and uncertainties, please see the risk factors set forth in the company’s 2004 10-K and its other securities filings, including any amendments thereto, which identify important matters such as the consequences of our significant financial losses and high leverage, terrorist attacks, domestic and international economic conditions, the significant cost of aircraft fuel, labor costs, competition, and industry conditions, including the demand for air travel, the airline pricing environment and industry capacity decisions, regulatory matters and the seasonal nature of the airline business. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this press release.