Southwest Airlines closes on its
Bob Jordan, the Southwest executive who will run AirTran, said Southwest probably won’t do away with bag fees or AirTran’s first class cabins or even repaint the planes in Southwest colors until at least next year.
Southwest expects to get a single operat mulberry sale ing certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration in the first quarter of 2012.
By buying AirTran Holdings mulberry sale Inc., Southwest gains its first presence in Atlanta and at Reagan N mulberry sale ational Airport in Washington, plus additional gates at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
Before the deal, Southwest only operated in Virginia at the Norfolk and Washington Dulles international airports.
AirTran employees attending an event at Southwest’s Dallas headquarters said they believe their jobs are safe because Southwest and AirTran overlap on only a few routes, reducing the likelihood of layoffs.
Southwest has said it will end AirTran flights at Dallas Fort Worth International because Southwest operates many more flights at nearby Dallas Love Field.
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said his airline will study AirTran’s other locations but hasn’t yet identified any for closure.
Richmond area business leaders are concerned that Southwest Airlines’ evaluation could mean a decline in service at Richmond International Airport.
Besides Richmond, AirTran operates at Newport News, Reagan Washington National, and Washington Dulles International airports.
Though JetBlue and AirTran have been a boon to Richmond International’s passengers, travelers have not always supported the low fare carriers enough in the past, officials said.
For instance, AirTran and JetBlue discontinued service between Richmond and New York, citing a lack of premium paying largely business travelers.
This year, the Greater Richmond Chamber began a “Use’Em or Lose’Em” initiative to retain Richmond’s low cost air carriers.
Southwest says the deal that closed Monday values AirTran at $1 billion. AirTran shareholders are getting $3.75 in cash and 0.321 shares of Southwest in exchange for their AirTran shares. Southwest said AirTran shareholders will own 5.6 percent of the company. Southwest used cash to pay for the transaction.