The airline plans a 40 percent expansion of service over the next two years. It will mean adding 700 jobs, paying an average of $25/hour (Click here for details on the new jobs and how to apply).
The first phase will include adding 50 new flights including more to Seattle, Orlando, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Next year will include service to 20 new destinations.
Some of the flights are being moved here from Continental's congested hub in Newark, New Jersey.
And there was a long-awaited announcement that non-stop Hopkins to Paris service will begin in May 2008.
Continental CEO Larry Kellner also said the airline is eyeing possible service to Amsterdam.
A who's who of officeholders attended a jam-packed press conference at Cleveland City Hall. They included Mayor Frank Jackson, Governor Ted Strickland, Senator Sherrod Brown, Congresspeople Steve Latourette, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones and other state and local officials. Some compare landing this project to the collaborative effort that saved jobs at DFAS.
The State is contributing $17 million dollars of loans and grants to the $45 million dollar project.
The expansion will include some physical improvements including new ticket counter operations.
The announcement provides peace of mind to Continental's present work force here.
Greater Cleveland Partnership Chief Joe Roman says air service improvements will enhance efforts to attract and expand business here.
Convention and Visitors' Bureau Director Dennis Roche says this will help bring more travelers to Cleveland.
Next week the city's expected to announce plans to better utilize Burke Airport, keeping it an airport, but starting to develop the land around it.
Click " Play Video " to see Tom Beres' report.
According to Continental, the expansion will happen in three phases between 2007 and 2009.
began with increases in capacity in 2007 to many markets from Cleveland, including:
San Francisco 45% increase
Orlando 33% increase
Seattle 32% increase
Los Angeles 10% increase
Seasonal flights to San Diego began in late December, 2006.
New service began to Quebec in June, 2007.
In September, twice daily flights to Oklahoma City and daily service to Ottawa will begin.
Phase two: 12 new non-stop flights
In early 2008, Continental will add 27 new flights to 12 new non-stop destinations:
- Three daily flights to Greensboro, N.C. begining on March 3, 2008
- Three daily flights to Omaha, Nebraska begining on March 3
- Twice daily flights to Savannah, Georgia begining on March 3
- Twice daily flights to Brimingham, Alabama beginning on April 6
- Once daily flights to Charleston, S.C. beginning April 6
- Twice daily flights to Green Bay, Wisconsin beginning April 6
- Twice daily flights to Tulsa, Oklahoma beginning April 6
- Twice daily flights to Little Rock, Arkansas beginning May 4
- Twice daily flights to Memphis, Tenn. beginning May 4
- Three daily flights to Lansing, Michigan beginning May 4
- Twice daily flights to Des Moines, Iowa beginning June 12
- Three daily flights to Kalamazoo, Michigan beginning June 12
Service to Paris will begin May 22 with a Boeing 757.
Additional cities will be announced later.
Will be announced in 2008.