Air Transport World

Continental Airlines.(US Majors)

The airline industry will lose a legend when Chairman and CEO Gordon Bethune steps down at the end of this year, a victim of boardroom feuding. Bethune's handpicked successor, current President and COO Larry Kellner, will have his hands full negotiating a new pilot agreement while trying to return the fifth-largest US Major by revenue to the profitable position it enjoyed through the second half of the 1990s. Like other network airlines, Continental has not seen an annual profit from operations since 2000. However, it also has not endured the same level of losses, and it turned a quarterly net profit of $33 million excluding special items in last year's summer quarter. For the full year it actually earned $38 million compared to a loss of $451 million in 2002. …

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