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Business Air Travel Stabilizing: Continental CEO

Business air traffic is starting to stabilize, said Larry Kellner, CEO of Continental .

“I want to be careful and not be too optimistic,” he said. “One data point doesn’t make a trend. But we’re clearly feeling a little better as we see travel policies and budgets for next year. Whether we get to where we were a couple years ago, we’ll wait and see.”

The company is currently positioned “correctly,” by having pulled back capacity in the summer of 2008 as fuel prices soared, he said. And despite the recession, the company has grown, adding Shanghai and Houston as destinations.

Continental recently announced it’s joining the Star Alliance which includes United , Air China and Egyptair.

“You want alliances to be complimentary,” he said. “You want them to expand their network. And you look for carriers where you fit together much like pieces in a puzzle.”

Meanwhile, the company expects to generate some $200 million in bag fees this year.

“We’re going to try to find the right balance for our customers on what we charge,” he said. “I’m sure you’ll see a lot of interesting concepts out there over the next few years.

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