Chattanooga, Toledo and more Continental cuts

index.14.jpgChattanooga and Cologne, Sarasota and Toledo, and more. These are cities that will lose all service under the Continental Airlines/Continental Express brand name as of this September 3. The Houston-carrier had said earlier it would cut capacity and but not give out details until it discusses the cuts with its employees. It did so Thursday, and the list includes some fair-sized burgs such as Oakland, Calif., just across the Bay from San Francisco, as well as Reno, Nev., and Montgomery, Ala. The list also includes Chattanooga, Tennessee, known for its rotunda-based architecture (above) and Toledo, Ohio’s Express Airport.

For Oakland, this is the second carrier to announce a pullout; American Airlines said earlier it was abandoning the city near the City on the Bay. For Toledo, squeezed in the northwest corner of Ohio between Detroit and Cleveland, the news is a blow to the community’s plan to revitalise the airport. Continental had just upgraded its service, and the airport proudly announced that growth in Houston service even as Delta ended its Atlanta flights to Toledo in May. The airport has seen its offering decline, falling from 50,000 seats a month to 20,000 month over the past three years.

For Chattanooga, the ‘Gateway to Southeast Tennessee,’ it’s not good news, either. The airport lost Skybus in April when that carrier shut down. It did mark the inauguration of Detroit service on Northwest Airlink in early June. Both Toledo and Chattanooga have Allegiant service to Florida, but that barely touches on attracting business travellers to business destinations, the prime goal of these two and indeed almost any airport. But both these airports have been leaking potential flyers to nearby hubs, Toledo to Detroit and Chattanooga to Atlanta.

In addition to Cologne, Germany, Continental is closing other overseas stations: it will end all service to: Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia; Cali, Colombia; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Monclova, México, and Santiago in the Dominican Republic. The other US points losing service are Green Bay, Wis; Palm Springs, Calif; and Tallahassee, Fla.

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