Southwest to Acquire AirTran

By | September 27, 2010
AirTran Airways Boeing 737
Image via Wikipedia

We started the day this morning with surprising news. Southwest Airlines is going to acquire AirTran Airways. It is going to take us a bit to really think about this, and we’ll have more later in the day, but let’s go over the big points now.

AirTran has 52 Boeing 737-700s, 10 leased, and 87 717-200s. Southwest is known for exclusively using 737s, and will now have to deal with having another fleet type. They will not be getting rid of them, and has stated they will compliment the existing fleet.

Southwest sees AirTran’s access to smaller markets as bringing more passengers into their network. AirTran serves Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, which will make the new Southwest international. The deal will allow them to expand in restricted airports where AirTran has access, such as LaGuardia and Washington National, as well as their operation at Atlanta. Both have a significant presence at BWI.

There are a lot of questions to answer regarding route realignment, integration, rule unification..we’ll cover more of this later in the day. This is a big one.