Continental Airlines unveils flights from GJ to Houston starting in May

Continental Airlines will fly nonstop twice a day between Grand Junction and Houston beginning May 3, linking two major energy-industry hubs and boosting local residents’ access to Latin America and the Caribbean.

About 50 people turned out for breakfast at Mesa State College on Wednesday morning to celebrate and learn more about Continental’s new service between Grand Junction Regional Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The merger of Continental and United Airlines, coupled with United’s success in its eight daily flights between Grand Junction and Denver International Airport, spurred the decision to launch a new air service between Grand Junction and Houston, according to Randy Loveland, United’s director of regional sales.

“We felt that connecting what will now be United’s largest hub in Houston to the system in Grand Junction would be a good idea,” Loveland said. “There’s a track record here, and it’s working.”

Loveland tried to make a strong pitch for the new service to elected officials, business leaders and community members. He noted the 50-seat regional jets will fly out of Grand Junction early enough in the morning to allow business travelers enough time to attend meetings and conduct others business that same day in Houston.

Once in Houston, passengers can connect to 40 cities in Latin America and fly nonstop to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London and Paris, Loveland said.

One woman asked whether travelers can count on a long-term commitment from United Continental Holdings Inc. to the Grand Junction market. Loveland responded that while United Continental must make decisions that are in its best financial interests, officials didn’t choose to begin service out of Grand Junction “willy-nilly.”

“Is it a commitment for six months or six years or 60 years? I don’t know,” he said. “We fully expect this will work. We really need you to be a partner in this.”

Loveland said the new air service is expected to create five additional jobs at Grand Junction Regional Airport.

United Continental becomes the sixth commercial carrier to offer service out of Grand Junction Regional Airport. Houston will be the seventh nonstop destination from Grand Junction, joining Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.


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