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Continental Airlines (U.S.)

Last modified: 2019-08-01 by rick wyatt
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[Continental Teves flag] image by Randy Young, 12 December 2015

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"Continental Airlines was a major United States airline founded first as Varney Speed Lines, on July 15, 1934 in El Paso, Texas and eventually headquartered in Houston, Texas. It had ownership interests and brand partnerships with several carriers. Varney Speed Lines (named after one of its initial owners, Walter T. Varney, who was also a founder of United Airlines). Following cancellation of all domestic airmail contracts by the Roosevelt administration in 1934, Robert F. Six learned of an opportunity to buy into the Southwest Division of Varney Speed Lines which needed money to handle its newly won Pueblo-El Paso route. Six was introduced to Louis Mueller (who would serve as Chairman of the Board of Continental until February 28, 1966). Mueller had helped found the Southwest Division of Varney in 1934 with Walter T. Varney. As an upshot of all this, Six bought into the airline and became general manager. Varney was awarded an airmail contract between Pueblo and El Paso; it carried passengers as a sideline. The carrier was renamed Continental Air Lines (later changed to "Airlines") on July 8, 1937. Six relocated the airline's headquarters to Denver Union (later Stapleton) Airport in Denver in October 1937. Six changed the name to "Continental" because he wanted the airline name to reflect his desire to have the airline fly all directions throughout the United States.

Continental started out as one of the smaller carriers in the United States, known for its limited operations under the regulated era. Post 1978, Continental grew into one of the country's largest carriers despite facing financial troubles and other issues, eventually becoming one of the more successful airlines in the United States.

In 1998, Continental Airlines acquired 49% of Copa Airlines, marking the beginning of a comprehensive marketing and operating alliance. On May 19, 1999, Continental increased its stake to 51%. Since then, Copa has adopted a livery and corporate logo similar to Continental’s (now United).

In May 2010, Continental announced that it would merge with UAL (United Air Lines) Corporation (the parent company of United Airlines (official website: via a stock swap. Continental's shares were acquired by UAL Corporation. The acquisition was completed in October 2010, at which time the holding company was renamed United Continental Holdings. During the integration period, each airline ran a separate operation under the direction of a combined leadership team, based in Chicago. The integration was completed on March 3, 2012."
Sources: /, and

The penultimate flag featured the "Jet Stream" logo, designed by Saul Bass in 1968 (source: which changed its previous logo ( as seen here: (source: Description is as follows: "White, Yellow, Maroon and orange stripe nylon flag with “CONTINENTAL AIRLINES” and black and yellow stripe circle logo. Number 40 on the hoist. Makers label “NYL-GLO 100% NYLON BUNTING eagle logo SINCE 1847 ANNIN & Co. VERONA, N.J.”" (it is a flag based on the U.S. flag, featuring a black symbol in the yellow canton, which is the "Jet Stream" logo in black, and thirteen horizontal equal stripes, alternating white, yellow, maroon and orange). Measurements are as follows: "H 1500 W 2280mm (H 59 1/16 W 89 3/4")" . The flag is stored at the The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) (official website:

Regarding branding of its last logo, here are a few guidelines (sources: and the official document "Continental Airlines Logo Usage Guidelines" ( , August 2009).
- The logo is in Pantone® Matching System (PMS) 286 Blue, equivalent to: CMYK settings on print application for PMS 286 Blue are 100% C, 66% M, 0% Y, 2% K ; RGB settings on Web application for PMS 286 Blue are R: 0, G: 51, B: 153 and Hex settings are #003399.
- Usage Guidelines All Continental Airlines logos, including the names and logos set forth herein, are trademarks of Continental Airlines, Inc.

For additional information go to Continental (official website, defunct, available through here:
Esteban Rivera, 7 March 2018