Continental to Fly Texas to Africa with Dreamliner
The carrier announced it would launch service between Houston and Lagos, Nigeria, on Nov. 10, 2011, with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft. Continental said it would be the first daily scheduled service between Texas and Africa by any carrier.
Lagos is Continental's first destination in Africa and the 30th city in its trans-Atlantic route network. It's also the second new international destination announced by Continental in the past month – the other being Auckland, with service from Houston to New Zealand also scheduled to begin in November 2011.
The carrier said with the addition of flights to Africa, Houston would become one of only four cities in the world, and the only city in the Western Hemisphere, to have nonstop service to every inhabited continent in the world.
"We are excited to continue to expand our international route network from Houston by adding nonstop service to Lagos," said Jeff Smisek, Continental's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "This flight will link two energy capitals and fill the growing demand for nonstop service between the two cities - a route which is currently not served by any other airline."
Houston officials applauded the new route as a boon to the city.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker said the city stands to gain economically from the direct connection to Africa, particularly in the energy and tourism industries. "It's a win that will help facilitate increased commerce and trade, a direct benefit to the businesses and citizens of both regions," Parker said.
Continental used the announcement to put in a good word for its proposed merger with United Airlines, saying the success of the route "will be enhanced" by increased traffic through Houston as a result of the merger.
Flying times between Houston and Lagos will be approximately 11 hours eastbound, and 12 hours 30 minutes westbound, for the 6,500-mile flight, Continental said.
Photo of Continental 737-800, BriYYZ, flickr