Change is in the air as Southwest plans AirTran purchase
Monday 27 September 2010
US-based carrier Southwest, the largest airline in the world by passenger numbers, is to buy its competitor AirTran, it announced September 27, promising to generate "hundreds of millions in annual savings for consumers."
If the deal is approved, it will create a huge low-cost carrier flying 685 aircraft to over 100 different airports in the US, Caribbean and Mexico.
Southwest boss Gary Kelly said that the acquisition would allow Southwest to grow in "key markets we don't yet serve," which are likely to include extra locations for the carrier such as Atlanta (the world's busiest airport), and could mean more flights to New York and Washington, where AirTran holds several slots.
It may also signal the start of Southwest's first-ever overseas service, as AirTran's destinations currently include the Caribbean and Mexico.
On a joint website, the airlines promised that the deal would mean lower fares to customers, as the expanded carrier will be able to expand "the well-known 'Southwest Effect' of reducing fares and stimulating passenger traffic."
In a piece of good news for existing AirTran customers, who must pay a minimum of $20 for checked bags, the airlines said that they intended to scrap bag fees so that the product was consistent with Southwest's bag policy.
However, seat assignment and business class services on existing AirTran flights are also likely to be scrapped (also in line with Southwest's policy).
The proposed deal is the latest in a series of consolidation moves that will shake up the US airline industry.
Last week, United and Continental confirmed that they had received clearance from shareholders and US regulatory authorities for their merger, which will create a single entity serving an estimated 144 million passengers annually.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...
£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...
£22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...