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Continental Airlines celebrates fifth anniversary of Edinburgh - New York service

Continental Airlines celebrated today the fifth anniversary of its service between Edinburgh and its New York hub, Newark Liberty International Airport. The airline has carried over 650,000 people on the route since its inception and VisitScotland estimates that the trans-Atlantic link has contributed £184 million in tourism revenue to Scotland’s economy.

In recognition of the route’s success, Gordon Dewar, Managing Director of Edinburgh Airport, Phillip Riddle, CEO of VisitScotland, and Lisa Vickers, Principal Officer at the US Consulate General in Edinburgh, joined Bob Schumacher, Continental Airlines’ Senior Director – UK & Ireland, at a reception at Edinburgh Airport this morning.

The trans-Atlantic service was also recognised today by the Scottish Tourism Minister, Jim Mather MSP, who commented: "Five years on from its launch the Continental Edinburgh-Newark route continues to give Scotland a real competitive advantage. It has helped maintain connections with key international markets like New York which is vital in these challenging economic times.

“The service has also provided a real boost to our tourism industry helping attract even more North American visitors to Scotland. North America is our largest international tourism market, bringing in 417,000 visitors a year and more than £257 million into our economy. The route will be a fantastic gateway for thousands of Americans travelling to Scotland to join our Homecoming celebrations. With its diverse range of over 300 events, there will be something for everyone during Homecoming 2009."

Bob Schumacher, Senior Director – UK & Ireland at Continental Airlines, said: “We’re delighted with the success that our Edinburgh–New York route has enjoyed. Since its launch we have been able to double the frequency of flights to twice daily, which bears testament to its popularity.

“Coupled with our Glasgow–New York service, the route provides people in Scotland with improved access to New York and the Americas, as well as encouraging inbound travel from business and leisure travellers.”

Gordon Dewar, Managing Director of Edinburgh Airport, commented: "Continental has been a fantastic success story at Edinburgh Airport, and has transformed access to the United States from the capital. Continental's remarkable success at Edinburgh, and Glasgow, means that it is now the busiest long haul operator to and from Scotland. With up to 14 flights a week from Edinburgh, Continental has shown real commitment to the capital, providing an award winning service that is widely recognised as amongst the best in the business.

"New York is a vital link for Scottish business and leisure travellers, and for inbound tourism, and the continued success of this route is even more welcome in the year of Homecoming Scotland, as New York is a key hub for inbound travel to Scotland."

Phillip Riddle, CEO of VisitScotland, said: “Tourism growth is critical to the future of Scotland and VisitScotland has worked closely with Continental to bring this route to Scotland. I’m therefore extremely pleased to recognise the impact Continental’s New York to Edinburgh link has had in the last five years by selling Scotland to the US market and bringing £184 million to the Scottish economy.

“In the current climate it is imperative everyone in the tourism industry works together, the benefits of this can clearly be seen by the volume and value of what has become a crucial link between the US and Scotland.”

Lisa Vickers, Principal Officer at the US Consulate General in Edinburgh, commented: “The US Consulate in Edinburgh congratulates Continental Airlines on the fifth anniversary of its service between Edinburgh and New York.  Continental Airlines has more than 10 years of experience promoting tourism and business travel between the U.S. and Scotland with its daily service from Glasgow and its twice-daily service from Edinburgh.  Over 650,000 passengers have flown between Edinburgh and New York in the past five years; we hope the number of contacts between the U.S. and Scotland continues to grow as quickly in the coming years!”

Continental’s Edinburgh–New York and Glasgow–New York routes are operated by Boeing 757-200 aircraft, featuring 16 seats in the award-winning BusinessFirst cabin and 159 economy class seats. In BusinessFirst, extra-wide electronic sleeper seats feature a 55-inch/140-cm seat pitch, a 156-degree recline and adjustable winged headrests. New, 180-degree lie-flat seats will be installed in the BusinessFirst cabin on 757-200 aircraft, beginning in the autumn of 2009. An award-winning wine and champagne selection is served to complement excellent cuisine. All BusinessFirst and Economy seats feature Audio/Video on Demand (AVOD), allowing customers to choose from up to 40 movies, 50 TV programmes and 2,000 audio tracks.

Continental operates the largest major-airline hub in the New York City metropolitan area – Newark Liberty International Airport – offering flights to more than 200 destinations throughout the Americas, including more than 100 served non-stop. New York Liberty also offers the fastest transfers to many parts of the city, including the AirTrain service to New York Penn Station in midtown Manhattan with a journey time of less than 30 minutes.  A partnership between Continental and US Helicopter Corporation provides helicopter service between New York Liberty’s Terminal C and two Manhattan locations – the Downtown Manhattan Heliport at Wall Street, and the East 34th Street Heliport in Midtown – in each case with a journey time of eight minutes.

Continental operates non-stop flights to the U.S.A from nine airports in the U.K. and Ireland.  Continental's U.K. reservations number is 0845 607 6760; Customers can also book online