Press reports state that Continental Airlines will lay off 600 reservations agents as the percentage of passenger revenue it gets from its "lowest cost distribution channel," Continental.com, steadily climbs.
About 100 of the 600 employees slated to be fired will reportedly be gone in Continental's latest round of layoffs because the airline didn't renew a contract with Disney.
But, a review of Continental's last two annual reports -- the latest one was issued last week -- shows that increases in Web bookings have been driving the furloughs.
Consider that the percentage of passenger revenue that the airline derived from Continental.com was 22% in 2006; 25% in 2007; 26% in 2008; and 30% in 2009. Ticket sales amounted to $3.2 billion on Continental.com in 2009, down 18% from $3.9 billion a year earlier.
Continental has driven traffic to the site over the years in part by increasing the website's services, which include online check-in, the ability to search for and redeem reward travel, book specials, and change and refund tickets.
In other tech-oriented news, Continental says in 2009, 84% of its passengers checked-in online or at kiosks.
Also, Continental installed DirectTV on 48 aircraft in 2009. The airline expects to outfit its entire fleet of Boeing 737s by the end of 2010, and its Boeing 757-300 aircraft by mid-2011.