Add the fifth largest domestic airline to the list of the carriers providing service from the Virgin Islands to the mainland and beyond. Continental Airlines this week resumes non-stop service between St. Thomas and Newark, NJ, after a three-year absence.
Flight 460, which began service Thursday will provide daily service, leaving Newark at 7:50 a.m. and arriving on St. Thomas at 12:44 p.m. The return flight to Newark departs at 1:35 p.m and arrives at 4:48 p.m.
At ceremonies to commemorate the occasion, V.I. Port Authority Executive Director Gordon Finch recalled that even though Continental exited the airline scene in 1995 after Hurricane Marilyn, it never relinquished the counter space it occupied at the Cyril E. King Airport. It is as "if Continental knew that it would return to provide service in and out of the Virgin Islands."
Finch added that Continental is one of three signatories on the bond arrangement that facilitated the Port Authoritys ability to borrow monies to fund the airport terminal construction in the 1980s.
Acting Tourism Commissioner Monique Sibilly-Hodge, pleased with Continentals decision to resume service to the Virgin Islands, pledged every cooperative effort to maintain the air link and expressed the hope that it will be a solid relationship renewal with St. Croix benefitting as well.
Resuming service to St. Thomas and the Virgin Islands is only one aspect of Continentals service plans for the Caribbean region. The airline also recently expanded service to the Dominican Republic and San Juan, according to sales manager Caroline Acasio.
Continental operates major connecting hubs in Newark, Houston and Cleveland that provide access to Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.