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Continental expands its offer in Mexico, where it has seen growth thanks to increased tourism and business travel.

BY CHRONICLE STAFF

Loreto, a popular eco-tourism destination on Mexicos east coast, recently became Continental Airlines 31st destination in the country. Less than two weeks ago - on June 7 - the US airline announced the start of twice-weekly service today between George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, and Loreto. In the fall, the service will operate once a week. Continental uses the Embraer-145 XR jet with seating for 50 passengers in either aisle or window seats.

"Continental Airlines has had the possibility to open routes to new markets with international flights [thanks to] our Embraer Express Jets which allow us to fly to smaller cities," says Carlos Enrique Hernandez, general director of Continental in Mexico.

Continental already serves cities like Villahermosa, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi with the Embraer jets and plans call for further destinations served by the popular Brazilian jet.

"This is an example of the win-win relationship that exists between the carrier and several states of the country," Hernandez says. "The positive economic outcome translates for local economies into itinerary flights, either tourist or business destinations, and also by benefiting the carrier with the entrepreneurial and economic development of the states."

Its offer makes it the top foreign airline serving Mexico, says Bob Booth, chairman of U.S.-based consultancy AvGroup."It is...

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