Since the first of the month, Continental Airlines has quietly moved into the former Eastern Airlines reservation center to gear up to full operation by early June.

But the Houston-based air carrier won't discuss details about its new reservations center until it holds a "grand opening" on June 5 for representatives of the city, airport, travel industry and media."We are doing some training and getting the place ready," said Continental spokeswoman Peggy Mahoney. "We are somewhat operational" and telephone reservations are being handled by the center.

Continental first moved to buy the reservation center after Eastern shut down operations last January. Eastern's closing of its Salt Lake reservation center put about 800 people out of work.

Mahoney wouldn't say whether former Eastern agents have been hired by Continental.

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Continental, operating under chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, is consolidating its reservation services in Salt Lake City and Tampa, Fla., by closing centers in Los Angeles; Richmond, Va.; and Washington, D.C. Employees at those centers are being given the opportunity to transfer to Salt Lake City or Tampa before others are considered for hire, the airline said.

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