Continental Airlines is an airline of the United States. Based in Houston, Texas, it is the 5th largest airline in the U.S. and the 6th largest in the world. Continental's tagline, since 1998, has been Work Hard, Fly Right.
Continental flies to destinations throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia from its three hubs at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (in Houston, TX), Newark Liberty International Airport (in Newark, NJ near New York City), and Hopkins International Airport (in Cleveland, OH). Additionally, Continental Micronesia, covers cities in Hawaii, Polynesia, Micronesia, Australia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia from its hub at Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport in Guam. (Continental Micronesia was a wholly-owned subsidiary operation as an affiliate carrier until it was folded-into the Continental mainline operation after September 11, 2001.)
Continental is a minority owner of ExpressJet Airlines, which operates under the trade name Continental Express but is a separate, public company. Cape Air, Colgan Air, CommutAir, and Gulfstream International Airlines feed Continental's flights under the "Continental Connection" name.
Since September 2004, Continental has been a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, which it joined alongside Northwest Airlines and KLM. Previously, it was part of the now-defunct Wings Alliance. In addition to extensive code-share arrangements with SkyTeam partner airlines such as Delta Air Lines, the airline also code-shares with Amtrak to some cities in the northeastern United States, and with SNCF French Rail to stations in France.
Continental Airlines began service in 1934 as Varney Speed Lines, named after its initial owner, Walter T. Varney, first operating out of El Paso International Airport. Varney Speed Lines changed its name to Continental on 1 July 1937 after new owner Robert Six had taken over. Six moved the airline headquarters to Stapleton Airport in Denver, Colorado in October of that same year. He went on to preside over the airline for 40 years.
In the 1940s Continental's Denver headquarters became a conversion center where the airline took care of converting B-17s and B-29s for the United States military during World War II.
The airline's route network was limited to the southwestern United States for many years. In 1953, Continental merged with Pioneer Airlines, gaining access to 16 more cities in Texas and New Mexico. In 1957 it flew for the first time from Chicago to Los Angeles. Although the airline took deliveries of its first jet aircraft in 1958, its Boeing 707s did not fly to the East Coast.
In 1963 the company's headquarters moved to Los Angeles and in 1968 a new livery was launched, the orange and gold cheatlines adorned with a black global circle on the jet's tails. Later in the 1960s, the airline transported American soldiers to Vietnam, and realizing there was a market in the Pacific Ocean, Continental set up an airline in Micronesia, Air Micronesia. This airline is nowadays known as Continental Micronesia and uses Continental's livery on its jets. 1969 saw service to Honolulu begin, and in 1970, Continental's first Boeing 747 arrived. DC-10s were added to the fleet soon after, and the rest of the 1970s saw Continental's trans-Pacific expansion continue, landing in Auckland and Sydney by 1977.