Continental Airlines announced significant, temporary reductions in capacity to Mexico, effective May 4, in response to lower demand. Initially, for the month of May, the company has reduced capacity to Mexico as measured by available seat miles (ASMs) by approximately 50 percent, compared to its original May 2009 flight schedule.
Flight departures have been reduced by approximately 40 percent. These reductions constitute approximately 2 percent of Continental's systemwide ASMs for May 2009 compared to its original May 2009 flight schedule. Reductions are being implemented by using smaller aircraft on flights to Mexico or by reducing the frequency of flights to any one destination. Prior to these reductions, Continental operated an average of 450 weekly flights to the country, the airline said.
"Given the swift changes we are seeing in the marketplace, we need to react prudently but quickly to bring our capacity more into line with demand," said Larry Kellner, chairman and CEO. "We were already experiencing soft market conditions due to the economy, and now our Mexico routes in particular have extra weakness. Our plan going forward will be to continue to monitor demand levels we are seeing and adjust our capacity and costs accordingly."
Continental continues to serve all 29 of its destinations in Mexico and customers are assured that return travel from Mexico remains available, although schedules and routings may change.
Continental said it is notifying affected customers about options for re-accommodation on different flights as close as possible in time to their original flights. In addition, the company extended its waiver policy for customers traveling to Mexico, allowing them to change their itinerary without penalty through May 31.