Continental Airlines  Airbus A300B4-203    N72986                  (c/n  154)

                                   In 1986 Eastern Airlines was taken over by the Texas Air Group, headed up by Frank Lorenzo.
                                   In order to attempt to keep it alive he was forced to slim that carrier down (until it went bankrupt)
                                   following a disastrous strike by the International Association of Machinists. Part of the slimming down
                                   process meant the distribution of Eastern's assets to other subsidiaries within the Group.  As a result,
                                   Continental acquired a large fleet of Airbus A300s.   Seen above is N72986 (formerly N223EA) in
                                   full gold tail livery just about to touch down at LAX in August of 1991.   In that same year Continental
                                   devised a brand new paint scheme and N235EA is seen wearing it (below) at the exact same venue in
                                   August 1992. 

                                    Airbus  A300B4-203   N235EA      (c/n   274)


                                      Footnote to the Second Bankruptcy

                                        Continental filed for bankruptcy again in 1991 (I wish I could file bankruptcy every ten years - that
                                        would do wonders for my bill paying ability).  Anyway, shortly before that they went to the expense
                                        and trouble of repainting their fleet in the new white and blue livery as carried on the Airbus above.
                                        There were a number of circumstances behind the second bankruptcy:   First, Frank Lorenzo had left
                                        Continental to dedicate himself full time to Eastern Airlines and it seemed propitious to clean house at
                                        that time. Secondly, fuel prices had risen because of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the resulting Gulf
                                        War.  Added to this was the fact that People Express had been highly leveraged at the time of its merger
                                        with Continental, having previously purchased Frontier Airlines two years before.  In 1993 Air Canada,
                                        along with Air Partners and the Texas Pacific Group assisted Continental in coming out of chapter 11
                                        once more, by investing $450 million  in the airline.   The new leader was Gordon Bethune.  Under his
                                        management the airline sold off its Airbus and MD-82 equipment and became an all Boeing line. Finally,
                                        by 1995 the Denver hub (the original head office of Continental in the 1930s and 1940s before its move
                                        to LAX) had been eliminated entirely, and everything had been pulled back to Houston.  For a detailed
                                        account of this era in Continental's fortunes and misfortunes read  Gordon Bethune's book "From Worst
                                        to First"