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Southwest Airlines is on the come up:

Southwest Airlines will buy AirTran for about $1.4 billion, the company said Monday, allowing it to expand in some key smaller U.S. markets it doesn’t already serve. The announcement comes as Continental Airlines and United Airlines parent UAL Corp. form a single company, a deal expected to be completed this week. Southwest and AirTran said the new airline will operate from more than 100 different airports and serve more than 100 million customers.

The deal is worth approximately $3.4 billion including AirTran’s debt. Southwest will pay about $670 million with available cash. The buyout allows Southwest Airlines Co. to get more exposure to existing markets like New York and Boston, where it has been expanding. It can also get into smaller markets it doesn’t already serve. Southwest carries more passengers than any other airline in the U.S. AirTran is based in Atlanta and has hubs in Milwaukee and Orlando.

The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year. It requires both regulatory and shareholder approval. The airlines expect to fully blend their operations in 2012.

Let’s hope this means no bag check fees for AirTran passengers as well. Airlines are getting ri-goddamn-diculous with all the “extra charges”. Spirit Air charges $30 for a carry-on!!! SMH.




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