January 20, 2012
Southwest Airlines will begin flying out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport as part of its acquisition of AirTran Airways.
The nation’s largest low-cost carrier says Charlotte is one of 22 Air Tran destinations that will be integrated into Southwest’s route network, according to a Friday press release from Southwest Airlines.
The move could be a relief for fliers, as competition from low-cost carriers tends to drive down airfares. The merger is part of a round of industry consolidation, including United-Continental and Delta-Northwest.
Southwest didn’t give a date for when the switch from AirTran will occur, only saying it will happen over time.
“We are committed to continuing to serve these communities — at first via AirTran, and eventually as Southwest,” Bob Jordan, AirTran’s president and Southwest’s chief commercial officer, said in a statement.
Southwest bought Atlanta-based AirTran Holdings Inc. in May 2011 in a deal valued at $3.2 billion. The purchase gave Southwest access to 38 airports it hadn’t served before – most notably Atlanta.
Charlotte passengers will be able to fly to Southwest’s 72 destinations in 37 states.
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