Aviation News

September 27, 2010

Southwest Airlines to Aquire AirTran Airways for Approximately $1.4 Billion

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Written by: BNO News
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AirTran 737-700 departing off of runway 13 at LaGuardia Airport

AirTran Airways 737-700 departing off of runway 13 at La Guardia Airport. (Photo by Phil Derner, Jr.)

Southwest Airlines on early Monday morning announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with AirTran Airways to acquire the airline for nearly $1.4 billion.

Including existing AirTran Holdings, Inc., indebtedness and capitalized aircraft operating leases, the aggregate transaction value is approximately $3.42 billion.

Southwest said in a statement that the agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of each company, and closing is subject to the approval of AirTran stockholders, receipt of certain regulatory clearances, and fulfillment of customary closing conditions.

“The acquisition of AirTran represents a unique opportunity to grow Southwest Airlines’ presence in key markets we don’t yet serve and takes a significant step towards positioning us for future growth,” said Gary C. Kelly, Chairman, President, and CEO of Southwest Airlines.

“It offers Customers more low-fare destinations as we extend our network and diversify into new markets, including significant opportunities to and from Atlanta, the busiest airport in the U.S. and the largest domestic market we do not serve, as well as Washington, D.C. via Ronald Reagan National Airport.”

“The acquisition also allows us to expand our presence in key markets, like New York LaGuardia, Boston Logan, and Baltimore/Washington,” Kelly added.

The combined organization would have nearly 43,000 employees and serve more than 100 million customers annually from more than 100 different airports in the U.S. and near-international destinations.

In addition, the combined carriers’ all-Boeing fleet consisting of 685 active aircraft would include 401 Boeing 737-700s, 173 Boeing 737-300s, 25 Boeing 737-500s, and 86 Boeing 717s, with an average age of approximately 10 years, one of the youngest fleets in the industry.

Southwest Airlines also announced, previously, that it is evaluating the opportunity to introduce the Boeing 737-800 into its domestic network to complement its current fleet, providing opportunities for longer-haul flying and service to high-demand, slot-controlled, or gate-restricted markets.



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