Continental Airlines is evaluating installing lie-flat seats on its Boeing 767-200ERs as the new seat made its debut today on a 777 flight from the carrier's Newark hub to Hong Kong.

The new Star Alliance member started researching a new seat design for its BusinessFirst seat in 2006 and eventually selected B/E Aerospace as the supplier of the 180 degree lie-flat seat. Today in a release Continental said it was equipping its 757-200s, 777s, 767-400s and 787s on order.

Installation on the 777s began on 22 September, and recently Continental President Jeff Smisek told ATI sister publication Airline Business that installations on the 757-200s Continental uses on transatlantic flights are scheduled to start this month. Continental eventually plans to feature the seats on its 767-400s as well, and Smisek says internal work is underway to determine if the seats should be installed on the carrier's ten 767-200ERs.

Smisek explains that originally Continental was examining opportunities to sell the 200ERs to cargo operators. But a couple of things have happened including a delay in the 787s that are due to replace the aircraft. Smisek also notes, "the cargo market is not exactly booming right now.

"As we decide how much longer we keep the aircraft we need to think about bringing it up to par with our other widebody aircraft," says Smisek.

Continental placed an order for the 787 in December of 2004, and currently has 25 on order split between 11 787-8 aircraft and 14 787-9s.

The carrier was originally scheduled to take delivery of the first aircraft in the in the first half of this year, but programme delays have now pushed first delivery to late 2011.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news