美国大陆航空公司

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美国大陆航空公司(Continental Airlines)
美国大陆航空公司(Continental Airlines) NYSE: CAL 、 天合联盟成员之一

大陆航空公司官方网站网址:http://www.continental.com/

目录

美国大陆航空公司简介

  美国大陆航空公司创建于1934年7月,公司总部位于美国休斯敦。美国大陆航空公司是全球第六大航空公司,飞往航点之多为全球之冠。

  美国大陆航空公司其60多年的发展历程中,经历过非常艰难的危机时刻,在1983~1986年和 1990~1993年两次进入破产保护期,其间更换了10位首席执行官(CEO)。1994年,一位名叫戈登·贝休恩的美国人在危难时刻来到美国大陆航空公司,担当起总裁兼首席执行官的职责。这位来自波音公司的新CEO力挽狂澜,大刀阔斧地实施改革,从此彻底改变了美国大陆航空公司的旧貌。

  戈登·贝休恩制定出“为赢而飞”的发展战略,并立即停飞亏损航班。与此同时,他还提出了“博得信赖”的奋斗目标,推出“努力工作,正确飞行”的口号,要求公司在航班准点率、行李安排率、乘客申诉处理率、座位超卖率四项指标保持行业领先地位,倡导以业绩论英雄的评价标准。在戈登·贝休恩领导下,大陆航空公司的面貌焕然一新,近年来先后获得“年度最佳航空公司”、“全球最受推崇的公司”等荣誉。

  2005年,在美国大陆航空公司工作十年且完成了扭转亏损局面并实现盈利历史使命的贝休恩退休了,拉里·凯尔纳成为新CEO。这位曾经是贝休恩左膀右臂的新人继承了美国大陆航空公司的改革传统,继续在提高服务质量上严格把关,并不断在全球开辟新航线。2005年3月美国大陆航空公司获得美国政府批准,在11家申请公司中被美国交通部选中,成为首家提供北京每日直航纽约航班的美国航空公司。“你问我们为何选择6月16日首飞,因为那是规定必须在90天内起飞的最后一天。通常开通一条航线的准备时间是一年,而我们在如此短的准备时间内做了大量的工作,而且获得了成功。”戴亚斯先生自豪地说道。

  除此以外,美国大陆航空公司还通过环球航空联盟天合联盟提供飞往近400个目的地的航班。如今,美国大陆航空公司拥有42000多名雇员,在美洲、欧洲和亚洲提供每天超过3200个航班的服务,飞往美国境内152个城市及全球138个目的地,飞行站点全球排名第一。

  2009年8月18日美国大陆航空公司纽交所代号:CAL)宣布计划于2009年10月27日正式加入星空联盟。按照计划,美国大陆航空将在10月24日完成最后一个航班飞行后离开天合联盟[1]

  2010年5月4日,美国联合航空(UAL)宣布将以价值$31.7亿美元的价格收购大陆航空(CAL),取代达美航空成为世界最大的航空公司。美联航称,双方董事会均已同意采取全换股方式,以美联航每1.05股换1股大陆航空的股票,总额约32亿美元。如果获得批准,合并后的公司将继续使用“美国联合航空公司”的名字,总部设在芝加哥。[2]

公司历史

  Early history

  Continental Airlines began service in 1934 as Varney Speed Lines, named after one of its initial owners, Walter T. Varney operating out of El Paso, Texas and extending through Las Vegas, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico to Pueblo, Colorado. The airline started with Lockheed Vegas, a single engine plane that carried four passengers. The airline later flew other Lockheed planes, including the Lodestar. It was renamed Continental on 1 July 1937 after a new owner Robert Six had taken a forty percent ownership with Varney's co-founder Louis Mueller. Six relocated the airline's headquarters to Stapleton Airport in Denver in October, 1937. Robert F. Six was one of the legendary patriarchs of U.S. aviation had a reputation as a scrappy, pugnacious and risk-taking executive who presided over the airline he largely forged in his image for more than 40 years.[3]

  During World War II Continental's Denver maintenance facilities became a conversion center where the airline converted B-17s, B-29s, and P-51s for the United States Army Air Force. Profits from military transportation and aircraft conversion enabled Continental to contemplate expansion and acquisition of new aircraft types which became available following the war.[3] Among those types were the DC-3, and Convair 240. Some of the DC-3's were acquired as surplus planes after WW-II. The Convair was the first airplane, opeated by Continental, that was pressurized.

  The airline's early route network was limited to the southwestern United States for many years. In 1953, Continental merged with Pioneer Airlines, gaining access to 16 additional cities in Texas and New Mexico which integrated well with the carrier's initial El Paso-Albuquerque-Denver route.[3]

  Growth

Robert F. Six
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Robert F. Six

  By the end of the 1950s, Continental Airlines had seen a broad expansion of its routes. In 1957 it flew for the first time from Chicago to Los Angeles (both nonstop, and via Denver); and from Denver to Kansas City. Continental Airlines introduced turboprop service with the Vickers Viscount 800 Series, on the new medium length routes. Continental was also an early operator of the Boeing 707, taking delivery of its first 707s in 1959. Six, not being satisfied with jet service alone, introduced dramatic service innovations with Continental's 707 operations which were described as, "...nothing short of luxurious" by the Los Angeles Times, and, "...clearly, the finest in the airline industry" by the Chicago Tribune.

  Continental's initial purchase of the Boeing 707 jets was for four jets. The airline introduced a program of progressive maintenance in order to obtain the utilization rates for the jets needed to operate its schedule. That program was crucial to successfully operating with only four jets.

  Prior to the arrival of the Boeing 707 jets, Continental acquired DC-7's to operate its non-stop route from Los Angeles to Chicago.

  Beginning in the early 1960s Continental expanded rapidly, adding service from Los Angeles to Houston (both nonstop, and with services via Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Midland/Odessa, Austin, and San Antonio); and from Denver and to Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, and Houston (both nonstop, and with services via Wichita and Tulsa/Oklahoma City). In 1963 the company's headquarters moved from Denver to Los Angeles.

  During the last half of the 1960's, Continental replaced the Viscounts with DC-9's from Douglas Aircraft. The company also disposed of its piston powered airplanes, one of the first airlines to do so. The last piston powered airplane operated by Continental was the DC-3.

  Throughout the Vietnam War Continental provided extensive cargo and troop transportation for United States Army and Marine forces to Asian and the Pacific bases. As a result of Continental's experience in Pacific operations, the carrier formed subsidiary Air Micronesia, picking up island hopping routes between Saipan/Guam and Honolulu, which Continental operated with 727 aircraft (this unit is currently known as Continental Micronesia). In 1968 a new aircraft livery was launched, the orange and gold cheatlines adorned with a black global circle on the jet's tails. The marketing slogan adopted in the late 1960s and used through the early 70s was, "The Proud Bird with the Golden Tail."

  1969 saw the introduction of service from Los Angeles to Honolulu/Hilo; and in 1970, Continental's first Boeing 747s arrived. McDonell-Douglas DC-10s were added to the fleet in 1971. Continental was selected to serve the route from the Pacific Northwest to San Jose and Ontario, CA.

  Continental's growth during this period was about more than new aircraft types or additional route miles. Quality was the watchword in every detail of the carrier's operation; and in one anecdotal indication of Six's passion for premium customer service, every page of the airline's Customer Service Manual was inscribed with these words: "Nothing in this manual supersedes common sense." Bob Six relentlessly prowled the Continental system, as well as competitors' flights, to assure tight quality standards and to search for ideas that could be adopted to Continental's network.

  At Six's insistence, Continental (with Pan Am) was a launch airline for the Boeing 747 aircraft. Its upper-deck first class lounge won awards worldwide for the most refined cabin interior among all airlines, as did meal services developed by Continental's Cordon Bleu-trained executive chefs. Continentals B-747 services from Chicago and Denver to Los Angeles and Honolulu set the standard for service in the western U.S. When asked by one Denver customer service agent in 1974 why he flew Continental wherever he could, Hollywood legend Henry Fonda remarked, "This operation is class; strictly class!"

  First black pilot

  In 1963, Continental hired the first black pilot to work for any major carrier in the United States, Marlon Green, after a United States Supreme Court decision allowed a Colorado anti-discrimination law to be applied to his case.

  Acquisition by Texas Air Corp.

  In 1981 Texas Air Corporation, an airline holding company controlled by U.S. aviation entrepreneur and raider Frank Lorenzo, acquired Continental after a contentious battle with Continental's management who were adamantly determined to resist Lorenzo. Continental's labor unions also fiercely resisted, fearing what they termed as, "Lorenzo's deregulation tactics." In the end, Texas Air Corp. prevailed. Frank Lorenzo became Continental's new Chairman and CEO. Texas International Airlines (TI), another Lorenzo holding, was merged into Continental Airlines in June 1982. TI ceased to exist and the "new Continental" relocated its headquarters to Texas Air's base in Houston, Texas. The merger resulted in a large expansion of Continental's hub at Houston Intercontinental Airport and its extensive routes to Mexico.

  Airline unions fought Continental at every step. In the Federal courts, they unsuccessfully sued to stop the company's reorganization. They were successful in working to persuade Congress to pass a new bankruptcy law preventing bankrupt companies from terminating contracts as Continental had successfully done. The law was too late to affect Continental and the drastic cost cutting and changes that had rescued it from liquidation.

  First bankruptcy

  Frank Lorenzo took Continental into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 1983 after extensive negotiations with labor unions proved unsuccessful. Continental imposed a series of new labor agreement on its union workers, sharply reducing the airline's labor costs. This move made Continental vastly more competitive with the new airline startups then emerging and thriving in the southwestern U.S.

  Much of the airline was liquidated and the company was rebranded as a low-cost carrier. Continental was also forced to abandon its hub in Los Angeles although it maintained its Denver and South Pacific routes. A more streamlined, leaner Continental emerged only a few days after the bankruptcy filing, a fact which gave Continental the distinction of being the first airline to fly through bankruptcy.

大陆航空波音737-800
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大陆航空波音737-800

  Rapid growth through consolidation

In October 1983, Texas Air Corp. made an offer for a Denver-based regional carrier, Frontier Airlines, opening a bidding war with People Express, which was headed by Lorenzo's former TI associate Don Burr. PeopleExpress paid a substantial premium for Frontier's high-cost operation. The acquisition, funded by debt, didn't seem to industry observers be rational from either the route integration or the operating philosophy points of view, but was in the opinion of most industry analysts rather an attempt by Burr to best his former boss, Frank Lorenzo.

  In June 1985, Continental rebounded as signaled by a major strategic move: initiating European service with flights from Newark and Houston to London.

  On August 24, 1986 Frontier filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations. With PeopleExpress hemorraging cash, Texas Air acquired PeopleExpress on September 15, 1986, at the same time gaining Frontier, which reinforced Continental's already formidable Denver hub. The PeopleExpress hub at Newark allowed Continental to expand its east coast services dramatically for the first time in its history; and the carrier soon the third-largest airline in the U.S. Continental emerged from bankruptcy in 1986 with dramatically improved asset and cash flow positions and a much more competitive route structure with routes radiating to every large U.S. city from major hubs at Denver, Newark and Houston.[7][4]

  On February 1, 1987, People Express, New York Air, and several commuter carriers were merged into Continental Airlines to create the sixth largest airline in the world. 1987 also saw the creation of the OnePass frequent flier program, and in 1988 Continental formed its first strategic partnership with SAS.

  Second bankruptcy

  In 1990, Frank Lorenzo retired after 18 years at the helm of Texas International and later Texas Air and Continental Airlines, selling the majority of his Jet Capital Corporation to Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS). According to William F. Buckley, in his September 17, 1990 article on National Review, the sale to SAS was conditioned on Lorenzo leaving the company. Shortly after Lorenzo left Continental, the airline filed for its second bankruptcy inside of a decade. There were a number of circumstances behind the second bankruptcy, most importantly: Lorenzo had dedicated himself almost full time to Eastern Air Lines acquisition and labor relations issues; the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the resultant Gulf War had prompted a dramatic increase in the price of jet fuel; and People Express had also been highly leveraged at the time of its merger with Continental, having purchased Frontier Airlines just two years before. In addition to Lorenzo embarking on deals which saddled the airline with other carriers' debts, he also began consolidating the different airlines into one system. That resulted in a fleet comprising numerous aircraft types, evident in the array of liveries in the Continental fleet for years to come.

  In the late 1980s, following a dramatic reduction of service by United Airlines and an unsuccessful attempt by USAir to build-up point-to-point service, Continental slowly moved into Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and established what would become its third-largest system hub. Continental quickly gained nearly all of the gates in the airport's C concourse (once dominated by United), and later expanded that concourse in addition to constructing an entirely new Concourse D.

  In 1993 Air Canada, along with Air Partners and Texas Pacific Group, aided Continental in coming out of chapter 11 once again by investing $450 million in the airline. Under the leadership of former Boeing executive Gordon Bethune, who became President in October of 1994, Continental subsequently ordered new aircraft in an effort to convert to an all-Boeing fleet. The airline's Denver hub - its historic operational base and headquarters for, in effect, almost 50 years - was reduced to spoke status (with service only to Houston, Newark, and Cleveland) in a further efficiency measure in 1995. Bethune also launched a 'Go-Forward Plan', designed to fix numerous other problems with the airline. His experiences were chronicled in his 1999 book From Worst to First.

  Current operations

  Continental embarked on an ambitious program to expand its international operations. In 1998 it launched flights to Ireland and Scotland, and in October 1998 the airline received its first Boeing 777 aircraft, allowing non-stop flights from Newark and Houston to Tokyo, Japan and from Newark to Tel Aviv, Israel. Continental in the same year launched partnerships with Northwest Airlines, Copa, Avant Airlines, Transbrasil, and Cape Air, and Continental and America West Airlines became the first two US airlines to launch interline electronic ticketing.

  On March 1, 2001 Continental launched a non-stop flight from Newark to Hong Kong, flying over the North Pole, which was the first non-stop long-haul flight service for any airline with flying duration of 16 hours. However the September 11, 2001 attacks and the SARS outbreak in Asia caused service to be suspended until August 1, 2003. The launch in 2001 started the battle between Continental, United Airlines and Cathay Pacific over non-stop flights between Hong Kong and New York.

  On February 22, 2005, the United States Department of Transportation announced that both Continental and American had won a fiercely-fought contest with Delta Air Lines to operate flights to China, with Continental offering a daily flight from Newark to Beijing beginning June 15, 2005. With the announcement, Continental, American, and United, will become the only three United States based airlines to offer non-stop flights between the United States and Mainland China. (Northwest Airlines operated non-stop flights to Beijing from Detroit from 1996 to 2002). Continental also flies non-stop from Newark to New Delhi, when operations commenced in November of 2006; but lost its bid to start service between Newark and Shanghai over United Airlines. In 2005, Continental expanded service from Newark to five new European destinations including Belfast in Northern Ireland, Stockholm in Sweden, Bristol in the United Kingdom, and Hamburg and Berlin in Germany. The route between Newark and Bristol is the first transatlantic scheduled service for Bristol which is made economically feasible due to use of smaller commercial jet aircraft, in this case, the Boeing 757. Continental will begin new non-stop service to Athens in June of 2007. With the recent announcement of daily nonstop service to Mumbai, Continental will have the most nonstop flights from the United States to India by any carrier. By May, 2006, Continental passed bankrupt Northwest Airlines to become the fourth-largest U.S. carrier, the first change in the top-five rankings since 2001.

  Continental Airlines was named "Airline of the Year" by OAG. According to Yahoo, Continental was also named "World's Most Admired Airline."

  Continental Airlines received a J.D. Power and Associates Award for Highest- Ranked Network Airline.

  Continental has recently earned other noteworthy recognitions and awards:

  • No. 1 Most Admired Global Airline; FORTUNE magazine (2004, 2005, and 2006)
  • No. 1 Most Admired U.S. Airline; FORTUNE magazine (2006)
  • Best Executive/Business Class; OAG Airline of the Year Awards (2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006)
  • Best Airline Based in North America; OAG Airline of the Year Awards (2004, 2005, and 2006)
  • Best Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific Business Class among U.S. airlines; Conde Nast Traveler (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006)
  • Best Airline for Travel in North America, Best Flight Attendants in the US, and Best Inflight Service in the US by reader survey in the UK's Business Traveller magazine (December 2006)

  In mid-2007, Continental will feature docking capability for Apple Computer's iPod portable music and video player. This will allow the device's battery to be charged, but will also allow integration with Continental's In-flight Entertainment (IFE) system. This will also enable the IFE system to play music, television shows, or movies stored on the iPod, as well as function as a control system.

  The Wall Street Journal revealed on December 12, 2006 that Continental was in merger discussions with United Airlines. Of issue would be Continental's golden share held by Northwest Airlines, dating from a stakeholding relationship during the late 1990s, and the divestiture of Continental's Guamanian hub. A deal was not "certain or imminent," with the talks being in a preliminary state.

  Recognizing operational capacity limits at Newark, Continental has begun utilizing its Cleveland hub as a reliever by developing more international service. In 2008, Continental will begin flying from Cleveland to Paris, and has announced new, seasonal once-weekly flights between Cleveland and Québec City. Additional international routes are expected to follow, pending the completion of a newly-expanded Federal Inspection Services station in Continental's primary concourse in Cleveland.

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