Today Continental Airlines announced plans to launch new daily nonstop flights between Houston and Lagos, Nigeria, beginning Nov. 10, 2011, subject to government approval. It will be the first daily scheduled service offered between Texas and Africa by any carrier.
Lagos will be Continental's first destination in Africa and the 30th city in its trans-Atlantic route network. It is the second new international destination announced in the last month that will be served nonstop from Houston, Continental's largest hub. Continental currently serves 63 international destinations nonstop from Houston and recently announced plans to begin nonstop service between Houston and Auckland beginning Nov. 16, 2011, subject to government approval.
With the addition of flights to Africa, Houston will become one of just four cities in the world - and the only city in the Western Hemisphere - to have nonstop service to every inhabited continent on the globe.
"We are excited to continue to expand our international route network from Houston by adding nonstop service to Lagos," said Jeff Smisek, Continental's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "This flight will link two energy capitals and fill the growing demand for nonstop service between the two cities - a route which is currently not served by any other airline."
On May 3, Continental announced that it has agreed to merge with United Airlines in a merger of equals to create the world's leading airline. The success of the Houston-Lagos route will be enhanced by the additional traffic flows through Houston that are expected to result from the merger.
"Houston stands to gain economically from this new direct connection to Africa, particularly in our energy and tourism industries," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. "It's a win that will help facilitate increased commerce and trade, a direct benefit to the businesses and citizens of both regions."
"It is vitally important to our local economy that Continental continue to expand and add critical destinations like Lagos, Nigeria, for service from Houston's Intercontinental Airport," said Congressman Gene Green. "This new route will also prove important for the growth of our energy industry here in Houston."
With this new USA-Africa route, Continental is doing more to make the business of international business its business and that's a good thing," said Congressman Al Green.
"This new service will drive the creation of new business connections between Houston and Nigeria, particularly in the energy sector," said Congressman Kevin Brady. "Growth at Houston's Intercontinental airport helps create jobs here at home and bring in dollars to our communities while offering more options for our business travelers."
"As international trade continues to be an increasingly integral part of growing our economy, this improved service by Continental will enhance economic development and create jobs not only for the energy industry, but for all Houston and the state of Texas as a whole," said Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis.
Continental will operate the approximately 6,500-mile flight with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft, seating 36 customers in BusinessFirst and 192 customers in economy class. Flying times will be approximately 11 hours eastbound, and 12 hours 30 minutes westbound. The new flight will reduce travel time between the two cities by over four hours by eliminating any connection en route.
The preliminary schedule for the new service is as follows:
Leave Houston Arrive Lagos Leave Lagos Arrive Houston
Winter 3:45 pm 9:40 am +1 11:10 am 4:40 pm
Summer 3:50 pm 9:15 am +1 10:45 am 4:40 pm
The flight will be timed to provide convenient connections at Continental's Houston hub to more than 100 other cities throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Pacific. Continental will begin taking reservations and selling tickets on the new route later this year.
Lagos is the economic, commercial and cultural center of Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa. The metropolitan area, an estimated 300 square kilometers located on the Atlantic coast of Africa, is a group of islands endowed with creeks and a lagoon. Lagos is Nigeria's leading port, particularly for imports of consumer goods, foodstuffs, motor vehicles, machinery and industrial raw materials, with more than half of Nigeria's industrial capacity located in Lagos's mainland suburbs.