Continental Micronesia
Continental micronesia.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedMay 16, 1968; 54 years ago (1968-05-16)[1]
(as Air Micronesia)[1]
Ceased operations
HubsAntonio B. Won Pat International Airport
Frequent-flyer programOnePass
Fleet size16
Parent companyUnited Continental Holdings
HeadquartersAntonio B. Won Pat International Airport
Tamuning, Guam (U.S.)[3] (now
Continental Micronesia Boeing 737-800 at Fukuoka Airport
Continental Micronesia Boeing 737-800 at Fukuoka Airport
Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport old terminal - Continental Micronesia headquarters
Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport old terminal - Continental Micronesia headquarters

Continental Micronesia, Inc. (CMI[4]) was a company which was a wholly owned subsidiary of Continental Airlines. It operated daily flights to Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as international services to Asia, Micronesia and Australia from its base of operations at Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport on Guam,[5] a U.S. territory in the western Pacific Ocean. During its final years, the airline, a Delaware corporation,[6] was headquartered in the old terminal building at Won Pat International Airport and in Tamuning, Guam.[3][7]

On December 22, 2010, as a result of the Continental-United Airlines merger, the FAA approved the combination of Continental Micronesia's air carrier operations with Continental's under the single Part 121 operating certificate of Continental; although Continental Micronesia remained as a corporation, all flights were then operated directly by Continental Airlines. This step was intended to simplify future integration steps between Continental and United. The callsign, ICAO and IATA codes were changed to reflect the new operating certificate.[citation needed]

As of 2012, the Continental Micronesia employee group, now a subset of United Continental Holdings, had 1,222 employees.[8] The subsidiary was merged into United effective April 1, 2017. On Thursday June 27, 2019 the subsidiary's parent company name was changed from United Continental Holdings to United Airlines Holdings.[9]

Code data

Continental Micronesia flights used the regular Continental "CO" code on ticketing systems and for frequent-flyer benefit accounting, but used its ICAO code "CMI" and callsign "Air Mike" with air traffic control authorities. In airport terminals, Continental Micronesia flights were listed separately (from Continental) with its IATA code "CS". During the final decade, three airports had both "Air Mike" and mainline Continental present: Hong Kong, Tokyo and Honolulu.


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Arrival of United Nations Visiting Mission, Majuro, 1978. Sign reads "Please release us from the bondage of your trusteeship agreement." An Air Mike Boeing 727 is in the background.
Arrival of United Nations Visiting Mission, Majuro, 1978. Sign reads "Please release us from the bondage of your trusteeship agreement." An Air Mike Boeing 727 is in the background.

The airline was established by Continental and other regional shareholders in the former U.S. Trust Territory and started operations on May 16, 1968, as Air Micronesia,[10] hence the nickname and callsign "Air Mike". Service was started with a Boeing 727-100, number 475, which was nicknamed "Ju-Ju," and a Douglas DC-6. It also operated two Grumman SA-16/ HU-16 Albatross amphibians to fly from Chuuk (Truk) to Pohnpei (Ponape), until an airfield could be built that could accommodate the 727. The 727's underside was coated with teflon, due to it having to operate on coral runways. Additionally, the plane had to carry spare parts and a mechanic, as well as open-water survival gear and (beginning in 1975) onboard doppler radar, then a rarity.[citation needed] The airline also operated Boeing 727-100 Combi aircraft models which were capable of transporting freight pallets on the main deck of the jetliner just aft of the cockpit in addition to passengers seated in the rear coach compartment.[11] By 1983, Continental Micronesia was operating all-passenger Boeing 727-100 and 727-200 aircraft in addition to mixed passenger/freight 727-100 Combi aircraft from its Guam hub.[12]

William H. Stewart of the Saipan Tribune stated that the airline's foundation "in particular" "was probably the single most important factor in the future development of what were once remote and isolated islands in the Pacific." Stewart added that the jets "distorted the traveler's impression of time and distance and brought the islands closer to major market areas in Asia."[13] The airline had a virtual monopoly in the Micronesia region.[14] In the 1970s, each district that the airline flew to had an entirely Micronesian employee base, with the exception of Saipan, which housed the airline's headquarters.[15] William H. Stewart of the Saipan Tribune said the airline "was the only travel link many had with the world beyond the horizon."[16]

In the early 1980s, the airline started service from Guam to Japan. As Continental's share and roles in Air Mike changed, the airline's name became "Continental Air Micronesia."[citation needed] Eventually, Continental owned 100% of Air Mike, which at one point provided the only scheduled service directly between Guam and any point in the 50 United States (namely, to/from Honolulu, Hawaii) although other airlines, notably Pan Am, Braniff International and South Pacific Island Airways, had attempted to provide nonstop service between Guam and Honolulu.[17][18]

Since May 1987, the company had the contract to provide passenger and cargo service from Honolulu and Guam to the states of Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap.[19]

Before being headquartered in Guam, Continental Micronesia was headquartered in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands.[20] As time passed, the airline's Saipan traffic decreased due to the 1986 breakup of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which was subdivided into smaller political units. Because of the breakup, fewer people needed to travel to Saipan, which was the capital of the trust territory.[14]

In 1995, Continental Airlines acquired the 9% of the company that it did not already own for $72 million from a group headed by the late Larry Hillblom.[21]

2000 to 2009

Guam Century Plaza in Tamuning, Guam, which housed Continental Micronesia/Continental Airlines city ticket offices
Guam Century Plaza in Tamuning, Guam, which housed Continental Micronesia/Continental Airlines city ticket offices

By 2003, the Guam International Airport Authority moved commuter airlines out of Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport's Commuter Terminal and leased the entire facility to Continental.[22] In 2003, it flew from Honolulu to Guam, and from Guam to numerous PacRim and Pacific island destinations.[23]

As of 2004, most of the airline's employees were Guam-based, due to the location of the corporate headquarters and the airline's main hub. By 2005 Continental Micronesia's business on the island of Saipan had decreased, prompting layoffs in Saipan.[24]

Continental Micronesia employed 1,500 people and was Guam's largest private-sector employer.[1] It operated 236 departures each week between 23 cities.[25]

Massachusetts-based Cape Air began services in the Mariana Islands under the Continental Connection banner on July 1, 2004. Soon afterward, Continental Micronesia eliminated most jet services to Saipan in favor of Cape Air's smaller-sized aircraft and increased frequency.[citation needed]

In 2008, Continental Micronesia generated profits, operating a "niche" Guam-Honolulu route. In addition Japanese tourists, wanting to save money, decided to travel to locations closer to Japan for vacation, so Continental Micronesia gained Japanese passengers. As of that year the airline's annual payroll in Guam was $90 million ($113,272,025 when adjusted for inflation). Thirty percent of the airline's business came from its 4,300-mile island-hopper route, which began in Honolulu, made five stops and ended—14 hours and 10 minutes later—in Hagatna, Guam's capital city.[26]

In May 2008, expected subsequent military buildup and population growth could have led to an expansion of Continental Micronesia flights to and from Guam.[27] However, on June 12, 2008, Continental's announcement of cuts of services, routes and destinations due to high fuel prices[28][29] included termination of flights to Hong Kong (which has since resumed) and Bali. Also among the cuts is the termination of the Saipan-Manila flights on July 15 which is the last remaining Air Mike flight for Saipan, the airline's original hub 40 years ago.[30] According to an opinion columnist for of the Saipan Tribune, the “declared” reason for the cancellation of the Saipan-Manila route was the fact that NCLEX tests were now available in Manila, so Filipino nurses no longer had to travel to Saipan to take the test. Before the flight's cancellation, the flight also served medical referrals from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to Manila and non-USA visa alien contract workers who were unable to transit to their final destinations via Guam; the author opined that the alien workers “particularly were Air Micronesia’s captive audience.”[14] With only Continental Connection/Cape Air services left, Continental closed its Saipan city ticket office on the same day.[30]

In 2009, the company began operating nonstop service between Honolulu and Nadi, Fiji.[31]

2010 and beyond

The United-Continental merger resulted in the elimination of Continental Micronesia's operating certificate as the new entity worked towards a single air operator's certificate (SOC).[1] The combination of Continental Micronesia's operating certificate into Continental's was approved on December 22, 2010.[32]

United Airlines announced on March 22, 2017 that the "paper" merger would be completed on April 1, 2017 that would officially fold Continental Micronesia into United Airlines. It was previously a subsidiary of United Continental Holdings.[33]

Since then, flights to Micronesia are now directly operated by United Airlines.


Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport was the hub of Continental Micronesia
Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport was the hub of Continental Micronesia

Further information: List of Continental Micronesia destinations

Beside providing transportation within Micronesia and between the region and the United States, Continental Micronesia flew to cities in Japan (the region's main source of tourists) and other Pacific Rim destinations.

The airline flew to nine Japanese cities, more than any other U.S. carrier.[34] The airline also operated a five stop "island-hopper" route between Honolulu and Guam. The 4,300-mile (6,900 km) route had an average duration of 14 hours and 10 minutes. Due to the special requirements of the route, each aircraft flying on this route houses an extra pilot, an extra flight attendant, a mechanic, and extra spare parts in case of a mechanical failure. Historically the airline received little competition on the "island-hopper" route. Continental Micronesia provided the only scheduled jet service in the Federated States of Micronesia and Majuro, Marshall Islands.[26] The airline's route network linked to the network of its parent company at Honolulu, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Newark.[34]

Due to small island populations and the corresponding amount of passenger traffic, many of Continental Micronesia's routes were flown less than daily (some as infrequent as twice weekly). The only routes with daily flights were between Guam and Fukuoka, Honolulu, Manila, Nagoya, Palau, and Tokyo.


As of early 2010, Continental Micronesia operated 12 Boeing 737 and 4 Boeing 767-400 aircraft (in Pacific Configuration) from Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport on Guam. The aircraft were all owned by Continental Airlines and were rotated to Continental Micronesia.[35]

Continental Micronesia Fleet, November 2011
Aircraft In Service Passengers Notes
F Y Total
Boeing 737-700 4 12 112 124 N13720 is painted in Star Alliance livery
Boeing 737-800 8 14 141 155
Boeing 767-400ER 4 20 236 256 All have rotated out to the U.S. mainland in favor of United's Boeing 777-200 (Domestic configuration) service.

Former fleet

Accidents and incidents

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Linares, Luis (August 25, 2017). "A Look at United's Micronesia Operations". Airways.
  2. ^ Continental Airlines To Leave SkyTeam To Join Star Alliance Archived 2008-06-28 at the Wayback Machine (Official Press Release: June 19, 2008)
  3. ^ a b "Docket No. SDWA-06-2005-1516." () United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved on February 5, 2009.
  4. ^ "Commission File Number 0-9781." Continental Airlines. February 8, 2002. "[...]together with our wholly owned subsidiaries, ExpressJet Airlines, Inc. (formerly Continental Express, Inc. and referred to in this Form 10-K as "ExpressJet") and Continental Micronesia, Inc. ("CMI"), each a Delaware corporation,[...]"
  5. ^ Flight International 3 April 2007
  6. ^ "SUBSIDIARIES OF CONTINENTAL AIRLINES As of February 23, 2007". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  7. ^ Letter Archived 2012-03-09 at the Wayback Machine. () United States Department of Transportation Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings. May 23, 1997. Retrieved on October 4, 2010. "Continental Micronesia Old Terminal Bldg. P.O. Box 8778-G Tamuning, GU 96931-8778."
  8. ^ "Company Information." () United Continental Holdings. Retrieved on November 16, 2012.
  9. ^ "United Airlines Strips 'Continental' from parent company's name". Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  10. ^ "GAO-10-778T Issues Raised by the Proposed Merger of United and Continental Airlines." Government Accountability Office. Page 4. Retrieved on October 7, 2010.
  11. ^, July 1, 1983 Worldwide Edition, Official Airline Guide (OAG), Honolulu flight schedules for Continental Micronesia
  12. ^, July 1, 1983 Worldwide Edition, Official Airline Guide (OAG), Guam flight schedules for Continental Micronesia
  13. ^ Stewart, William H. "The NMI's recent economic history Archived March 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine." Saipan Tribune. Wednesday May 18, 2005. Retrieved on October 13, 2010.
  14. ^ a b c Vergara, Jaime R. (July 21, 2008). "Celebrating the de-inauguration of CO 895". Saipan Tribune.
  15. ^ International Organization and Conference Series, Issues 107-111. United States Department of State. Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1972. 85. Retrieved from Google Books on October 14, 2010. "In each district, except Air Micronesia's headquarters at Saipan, all Air Micronesia employees are Micronesian."
  16. ^ Stewart, William H. "A different time and place Archived 2013-11-04 at the Wayback Machine." Saipan Tribune. Monday April 19, 2010. Retrieved on October 14, 2010.
  17. ^, July 1, 1983 Worldwide Edition, Official Airline Guide (OAG), Guam-Honolulu flight schedules
  18. ^, July 1, 1979 Braniff International route map
  19. ^ Magin, Janis L. (October 21, 2011). "Micronesia seeks new provider for air service". American City Business Journals.
  20. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 30, 1985. 47." Retrieved on June 17, 2009. "PO Box 298, Saipan, Mariana Islands 96950, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands."
  21. ^ Skousen, Sandi M. (September 21, 1997). "Airline facing growth decisions". American City Business Journals.
  22. ^ "Fiscal Year 2003 Overview Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine." () Guam International Airport Authority at Guam Chamber of Commerce. 3/4. Retrieved on October 13, 2010. "Movement of Operations from Commuter Terminal to Main Terminal As part of our streamlining, the Authority successfully moved the Commuter Terminal operations to the Main Terminal and leased the entire former Commuter Terminal to Continental Airlines."
  23. ^ Dicus, Howard (December 7, 2002). "Continental Airlines to rely more on Pacific routes". American City Business Journals.
  24. ^ Delano, Gaynor Dumat-ol. "Continental to downsize Oct. 4." Pacific Daily News. September 21, 2005. Local A1. Retrieved on October 13, 2010.
  25. ^ "Res.No. 159 (LS) Intro..pdf" (PDF). Legislature of Guam.
  26. ^ a b Blair, Chad (May 30, 2008). "'Air Mike' a rare bright spot in local aviation". American City Business Journals.
  27. ^ Hensel, Bill Jr. (May 30, 2008). "Carrier stands to gain in Guam / Pacific island expects a population influx as military realigns its forces, and Continental's hub will be there to handle it". Houston Chronicle – via PressReader.
  28. ^ "Continental Airlines To Cut 3,000 Jobs, Capacity". WBNS-TV. June 5, 2008.
  29. ^ Smith, Aaron (June 12, 2008). "Discount fliers: Your days are numbered". CNN.
  30. ^ a b Deposa, Moneth G. Continental shuts down Saipan office." Marianas Variety News & Views. July 17, 2008. Retrieved on February 25, 2009.
  31. ^ "Continental to start Honolulu-Fiji service". American City Business Journals. December 17, 2009.
  32. ^ "38 NMB No. 38" (PDF). National Mediation Board. April 1, 2011.
  33. ^ Russell, Edward (February 22, 2017). "United and Continental Micronesia to merge in April". Flight Global. Archived from the original on 2020-02-12. Retrieved 2022-01-08.
  34. ^ a b "2007 ANNUAL REPORT TO STOCKHOLDERS Archived 2010-02-15 at the Wayback Machine." Continental Airlines. 1. Retrieved on June 16, 2010.
  35. ^ Aircraft for Continental Micronesia
  36. ^ a b c "Our Fleet" as of February 2, 1999, Continental Airlines
  37. ^ NTSB Accident Report
  38. ^ Accident description for Air Micronesia Boeing 727-92C registration N18478 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 16 August 2015.