Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport is set to become one of the world's first airports to land regular service on Boeing's highly anticipated 787 Dreamliner model. Continental is the first airline to announce specific route plans for the Dreamliner, saying it plans to fly its first 787 between Houston and Auckland, New Zealand.
Continental hopes to begin flights on Nov. 16, 2011, pending government approval. Once the service begins, it will make Houston Bush the only interior hub in North America to have non-stop service to either New Zealand or Australia.
The range of the 787 -- up to 8,500 nautical miles, according to Boeing -- will allow Continental to use it for the roughly 7,400-mile route between Texas and New Zealand.
Continental is expected to take delivery of its first 787 in August 2011, though Boeing has been plagued by repeated delays in bringing the model to market.
At least two other airlines are to take delivery of 787s before Continental, though none have yet announced specific route plans.
*Delta touted its efforts to develop Asian gateways in both Detroit and Seattle last week as it launched several trans-Pacific routes.
From Detroit, Delta launched non-stop service to both Seoul Inchon and to Hong Kong. Delta will fly five flights a week on both routes using Boeing 777-200 jets. Delta also upgraded its Detroit-Shanghai service last week, expanding that to daily flights. The carrier says the additional service "continues Delta's development of Detroit as a major gateway to Asia."
From Seattle, Delta inaugurated its route to Beijing last week. That service operates five times a week on Boeing 767-300 jets. Today, Delta adds a trans-Pacific route from Seattle with daily service to Osaka, Japan, also on Boeing 767-300 aircraft.
"The new routes continue Delta's development of Seattle as its primary West Coast gateway to Asia," the airline said in a statement.
*More commercial airline service could be in store for Massachusetts' Worcester Regional Airport after the city agreed to sell the airport to the Massachusetts Port Authority. Massport has managed the airport for about a decade, but as owner, it would be free to upgrade the airport's facilities.
The agreement is scheduled to take effect July 1, pending the formal approval of the Worcester City Council.
"The fact is the city should not be running an airport. In terms of economic development and bringing jobs to the city, Massport has the expertise to bring in more airlines," Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, who helped broker the deal, told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
*US Airways inaugurated service on three routes last week.
From Philadelphia, the carrier has added year-round service to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and seasonal service to Anchorage. To Halifax, US Airways now offers three daily round-trip flights on 50-seat CRJ-200 regional jets operated by Air Wisconsin.
To Anchorage, US Airways flies one daily round-trip flight on Boeing 757 jets configured with 12 first-class seats and 164 in coach.
From Charlotte, US Airways now offers one daily round-trip flight to Ottawa. US Airways Express partner Air Wisconsin operates the flight on 50-seat CRJ-200 regional jets.
*Frontier Airlines has added twice-daily service between the carrier's Denver hub and Santa Barbara, Calif.
The service will be operated by Republic Airlines -- a regional subsidiary of Frontier parent Republic Airways -- on 99-seat Embraer E190 jets.