CONTINENTAL AIRLINES EXTENDS ITS REACH In a move that will result in a major global airline network, Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines recently formed an alliance to connect all of their route systems. Under the terms of the alliance, the airlines will engage in code-sharing arrangements and frequent flyer program reciprocity. The arrangement will also connect Continental's route system with that of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Northwest's transatlantic partner.

Continental Chairman and CEO Gordon Bethune described the alliance as "a crucial step" for the airline "to compete with the larger rival global alliances."

With the recent signing of a new bilateral aviation agreement between the U.S. and France, Continental also has announced its plans to pursue a code-sharing agreement with Air France. The airline currently flies to Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport from its Houston and Newark hubs, and through a marketing agreement already in place with Air France, customers can earn and redeem frequent flyer miles with either carrier. A code-sharing agreement would be subject to governmental approval.

DISNEY, SOUTHWEST TOP FORTUNE'S MOST-ADMIRED LIST Fortune magazine recently named Southwest Airlines the fifth most-admired U.S. company and Disney the eighth in its popular annual list. In the hotels/casinos/resorts sector, the most-admired company was Mirage Resorts. The magazine ranks corporations on several criteria: innovativeness, quality of management, employee talent, quality of products/services, long-term investment value, financial soundness, social responsibility, and use of corporate assets.

Along with Fortune's most-admired list is its list of least-admired companies, on which TWA appeared in the top three in two different categories.

Fortune surveyed 12,600 top corporate decision-makers for this year's picks. For the first time, the magazine asked readers simply to list admired companies, not companies by industry sector.