Southwest Airlines Co.
) and AirTran Airways moved a step closer to being a single
carrier by fully interconnecting their networks. However, for the
time being, AirTran will continue to operate under its own name
as a subsidiary of Southwest. With the new integrated services
slated to start from Apr 14, flight bookings are available on
sales counters of the carriers, various travel agencies and other
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The process of merging the itineraries of the two airlines
started in Jan, this year, almost two years after the AirTran
acquisition closed. The companies initially offered a small
number of interlinked routes in just five markets. The very next
month, the companies expanded its chain of connected networks to
another 39 cities.
Following this major step, travelers can now book flights on any
route, including international, served by both Southwest and
AirTran, in a single transaction. Via the combined network,
jet-setters will be able to reach to more destinations faster, at
a lower cost. The customers will also earn points on loyalty
programs, irrespective of the airline they choose to fly.
Ever since Southwest closed the acquisition of AirTran in May
2011, the former is focused on conducting a smooth integration
process that will likely be completed by 2014 end. Till date,
Southwest has successfully converted 11 AirTran 737 - 700s
aircraft into its livery and brought in 30% of the AirTran
workforce under its wings. Southwest also took over five AirTran
Airways-served cities within its operational boundaries. On the
financial front, Southwest realized net, annualized, pre-tax
synergies of $142 million in 2012 and the transaction is expected
to generate net synergies of nearly $400 million by year-end
Dallas, Texas headquartered Southwest along with AirTran operated
694 aircraft by
The Boeing Company
) serving 97 cities in 41 states, as of Dec 31, 2012. The company
- which operates along with other prominent players such as
United Continental Holdings
) - currently holds a Zacks Rank #3, implying a Hold rating.