Continental Airlines plans to launch daily nonstop flights between Houston and Lagos, Nigeria on November 10, 2011, subject to government approval. It is the...

Continental Airlines plans to launch daily nonstop flights between Houston and Lagos, Nigeria on November 10, 2011, subject to government approval.

If approved by the U.S. and Nigerian authorities, the Houston-Lagos route will be the first daily scheduled service offered between Texas and Africa by any carrier, according to Continental. It is also the second route that Continental has said it will operate with Boeing 787s.

Lagos will be Continental’s first destination in Africa and the 30th city in the airline’s 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 from November 16, 2011, subject to government approval.

Continental Airlines says that, 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,” says 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.”

Continental claims to be the first airline to announce definitive route plans for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with the airline's announcement that it will begin daily 787 flights between its Houston hub and Auckland, New Zealand on November 16, 2011 and Lagos, Nigeria on November 10, 2011. The airline's 787s will feature Continental's new flat-bed seat in BusinessFirst

On May 3, Continental announced that it had agreed to merge with United Airlines in a merger of equals to create the world’s largest airline. The airline says the success of the Houston-Lagos route would be enhanced by the additional traffic flows through Houston that are expected to result from the merger, if the deal is approved.

Continental will operate the approximately 6,500-mile flight with 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 airline’s preliminary winter schedule for the new service will see the flight departing Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) at 3:45 p.m. and arriving at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS) in Lagos at 9:40 a.m. the next day. The return flight will leave LOS at 11:10 a.m. and reach IAH at 11:10 a.m. the same day. All times are local.

In summer, the flight would leave IAH at 3:50 p.m. and land at LOS at 9:15 a.m. the next day. The return flight would depart LOS at 4:40 p.m. and arrive at IAH at 10:45 a.m. the same day. Again, all times are local.

Continental says 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.

Continental Airlines is the world’s fifth largest airline. Together with its regional-airline franchisees in Continental Express and Continental Connection, Continental as more than 2,700 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 132 domestic and 137 international destinations.

It is also a member of Star Alliance, which overall offers more than 21,050 daily flights to 1,167 airports in 181 countries through its 27 member airlines. With more than 40,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with its regional partners, carries approximately 63 million passengers per year.