Continental spends $894,000 to lobby federal government in 1Q


WASHINGTON – Continental Airlines spent $894,000 to lobby Congress and executive-branch agencies in the first quarter on issues including antitrust exemption, according to a recent disclosure filing.

The level of spending was up sharply from $285,000 that Continental reported spending in the fourth quarter and higher than the $810,000 it spent in the first quarter last year.

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Continental said it lobbied on antitrust exemption for a joint venture with United Airlines and Japan’s All Nippon Airways on flights between the U.S. and Japan. The airlines’ request is being reviewed by regulators.

Separately, Continental and United announced plans this month to combine into what would be the world’s largest airline. Regulators are also reviewing that deal.

Among other issues, Continental said it lobbied on reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, which included modernizing air traffic control technology. It also lobbied on security, prevention of outsourcing airline jobs, and legislation that would require airlines to give more information about flights when selling tickets.

The Houston airline also reported lobbying financial issues including ancillary revenue such as checked-bag fees, which are charged by Continental and several other carriers.

And Continental lobbied on proposals to limit long tarmac delays. New rules by the Transportation Department took effect in April requiring airlines to give passengers a chance to get off planes that are stuck on the ground for at least three hours. Continental asked for an exemption for its operations in the New York area, but the department rejected the request.

Continental reported its lobbying in a report filed April 15 with Congress.

Besides Congress, Continental lobbied the White House, the Transportation and State departments, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration.