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April 9th, 2009back

Continental Airlines Receives Tentative DOT Approval to Join Antitrust Immunized Alliance With Star

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today tentatively approved the application for Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) to join the existing antitrust immunized alliance between United Airlines and eight other Star Alliance member carriers, and for Continental to enter into an integrated worldwide alliance.

Continental?s entrance into Star Alliance will provide substantial benefits for consumers worldwide while preserving domestic competition and jobs, said Larry Kellner, Continental?s chairman and CEO. In addition, a timely final approval will allow Continental to provide a seamless transition for its customers from the SkyTeam alliance to Star Alliance this fall.

The tentative DOT decision not only benefits consumers, but also ensures global competition with other antitrust immunized alliances and encourages the retention and growth of open skies between the U.S. and other nations.

Continental expresses its appreciation to the numerous community and civic parties whose enthusiastic support has been critical to the airline?s efforts to secure this tentative approval. Continental thanks its 42,000 employees, its millions of customers and the travel, congressional, state and local government and business partners who urged timely approval of the application.

Continental also expressed its appreciation for the efforts of DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and his staff who issued the tentative approval of this application despite the many pressing other issues facing the DOT and the Administration.

In addition to Continental and United, the eight Star Alliance members receiving tentative DOT approval for antitrust immunity are Air Canada, Austrian, bmi, Lufthansa, LOT Polish Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), SWISS and TAP Air Portugal.

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. More than 650 additional points are served via current alliance partners. With more than 42,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with Continental Express, carries approximately 67 million passengers per year.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, Continental consistently earns awards and critical acclaim for both its operation and its corporate culture. For the sixth consecutive year, FORTUNE magazine named Continental the No. 1 World's Most Admired Airline on its 2009 list of World's Most Admired Companies.