Matt D
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:00 am

Questions On Continental

Tue Nov 30, 1999 6:02 am

First of all, I would like to say that I've flown CO several times, and have enjoyed every flight!
Now, I am hoping someone could clear up some conflicting info I've heard regarding the history of CO.
1. Was New York air a SUBSIDIARY of CO, or did CO buy them out?
2. What was Continental West? (routes, dates, etc.) I remember seeing them back in the mid '80's-when I was about 13-14 years old, flying 737-300's. What happened to CO-West?
3. Did the original Frontier cease operations prior to the merger with CO?
4. Who actually bought Frontier-CO or People Express?
5. Did CO ever buy the 737-100/200 new?

Over to you folks.....
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RE: Questions On Continental

Tue Nov 30, 1999 9:23 am

Matt, I dont know the answer to all your questions, but Continental was under the Texas International umbrella, which included the likes of Eastern, and New York Air. This is what I got from their website:

"October 31, 1982
The airline merged with Texas International led by Frank Lorenzo (retaining the Continental name), offering service to four continents (North and South America, Asia and Australia) with a fleet of 112 aircraft. "

"February 1, 1987
Became third largest U.S. airline with the consolidation of Frontier, People Express and New York Air. "

( Click on About Continental, then History. Gives you info decade by decade.

CO never bought any -100s new, they were from People Express, and before that, with Lufthansa. They may have bought new -200s, but alas, they are all gone now  

Hope that helps!

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RE: Questions On Continental

Tue Nov 30, 1999 2:40 pm

Starting from the top:

1. New York Air was a subsidiary of Texas Air Corporation (the holding company formed by Lorenzo for TI's acquisition of Continental). Its operation was later merged into CO.

2. Don't know much about that one. It seems to have been the name under which CO operated some of Frontier's routes immediately after Frontier was absorbed into CO.

3. I'm pretty sure that Frontier did operate as a separate subsidiary for a time after the merger.

4. Both Frontier and People Express (along with Eastern) were acquired by TAC.

5. CO (or TAC) never bought 737-200s new. They were all ex-Frontier and People Express a/c. Even CO's 737-300s weren't "true" CO airplanes. They were built as 737-3T0s for TAC rather than 737-324s for CO. The plan was to pool the a/c among CO, New York Air, Frontier, and Eastern. Only CO and New York Air actually operated the -300s.

My memory of some of this is foggy so any veterans of Frankie's "empire" who can fill in the blanks please feel free to say something. (Anything bad about Frank will be greatly appreciated!)  
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RE: Continental West

Wed Dec 01, 1999 9:53 am

CO West apparently started in 1985. The 11/85 Flight Guide shows 7 weekday flights LAX-SJC, 2 SJC-SEA and 4 LAX-SEA nonstops (all with 737-300's). Flight numbers were all in the 800's, while other CO flights were all numbered lower than 700; aside from that the Guide gives no indication that these were not regular CO flights.
The 8/86 OAG shows mostly DC9's on the above routes; there were a few 800-series flights to DEN, SAN, SLC and COS, along with three daily 737-300's from LAX to Houston Hobby to LGA. Don't know whether all this was advertised as "CO West", and don't recall whether any planes were lettered "CO West".
In 4/88 CO had 14 hourly flights each weekday SJC-LAX (mostly DC9's), plus 3 SJC-PDX, 3 SJC-SEA, and 2 SJC-SAN. By 10/88 these were all gone, and presumably CO West was gone too, then if not before.
Matt D
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RE: Continental West

Wed Dec 01, 1999 10:41 am

Thanks for the info.
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RE: Questions On Continental

Wed Dec 01, 1999 10:56 am

1. Yes....everyone is right, New York Air was actually started as a subsidiary of Texas International before Continental was even in the picture. Frank just took some of his Texas "9's ", painted them red, hired low-wage workers and competed with Eastern on the Shuttle. Then he bought Continental and merged it with Texas International, kept New York Air seperate and put everything under the umbrella of Texas Air Corp. New York Air expanded well beyond New York and eventually used Dulles as its hub. A Dulles based carrier named "New York Air".....makes sense to me. Finally in Feb. of 1987, New York was merged into CAL. You'd see thier planes with Continental's "New York Air" written on them. 2. TIMZ is correct about Continental West on the California routes. However, they never flew to Denver or the east coast. The whole operation consisted of three 737-300's with the exact same paint scheme as CAL but the had "West" in orange script. I believe the were set up to combat PSA and Air Cal.. They were based at San Jose and flew to LAX, Portland, and Seattle. They offered better service and served lobster tail and wine. It was shut down in about 1986. 3. Don Burr from PEOPLExpress made a huge mistake and bought Frontier in 1986. I say huge because PEOPLE was a discount carrier and Frontier was fancied by business men. Burr changed Frontier literally overnight to a discount carrier. Former passengers left for UA and Frontier filed Chapter 11 while still under PEOPLE's regime. Continental agreed to buy the assets of Frontier at a huge loss to PEOPLE. United also bought Frontier 737's. You'd see Frontier planes with Continental logo on tail and Frontier titles. The plane would say "A proud bird 2-b" 4. PEOPLE bought Frontier originally but then Continental bought it from PEOPLE after Frontier filed Chapter 11 and had totally seized operations. United bought Frontier's MD-80's and leased them to Continental. A few days later, CAL purchased PEOPLExpress also. 5. No they never bought new 737-200/100's. Just 300's, 500's, 700's and 800's. I know I am long winded but I hope I helped
Matt D
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:00 am

RE: Cody

Wed Dec 01, 1999 11:01 am

Don't worry about being long winded! I can be just as bad!!! Your reply was the most detailed one I've got yet!
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RE: Frontier's Demise And Merger With CO

Thu Dec 02, 1999 1:43 am

To Cody's informative response I would add only a little information. If I recall correctly, as Frontier's traffic fell after Don Burr purchased the line, Frontier's management (with Burr's approval) undertook discussions with United for UA to purchase FL as an entire entity--basically it's aircraft and assets at Denver-Stapleton (gates, maintenance facilities, flight kitchen, etc). UA and FL came close to a deal for a $180 million buyout, but it faltered when UA's pilots refused to integrate FL's pilot seniority list with their own. The deal fell through when FL pilots decided not to make further work-rule concessions, and shortly thereafter in August 1986, Burr put FL into bankruptcy.

The irony is that although FL "merged" into CO shortly thereafter, UA purchased many of FL's assets at Stapleton at a considerably lower value than they had agreed to a mere few weeks before. In a sense, CO never merged with the full FL per se; FL's assets were divided between the two behemoths at Stapleton.

I hope this answers your question.

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