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Southwest Airlines Wishes to Team Up with AirTran

Southwest Airlines is now flying into Atlanta and the next step for them is to bring AirTran jets into its fleet, a decision that is pending federal approval. Approval is expected on March 1, but Southwest will also have to ensure that passengers will be able to connect easily with their flights on both Southwest and AirTran.

As of now, Southwest still operates its flights separate from those of AirTran. This means that passengers of either airline must schedule their flights for each of the airlines separately. Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly says that the linking the flights of the two airlines won’t happen until later this year.

In addition to this, Southwest and AirTran are waiting for approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order to combine their operations. Once this approval is obtained, it will still take time for Southwest to absorb the AirTran aircraft and convert them to Southwest planes. The transition is expected to be completed in 2015.

Kelly says there is a lot of work to do to transition AirTran into Southwest, but ultimately Southwest will have between 175-200 daily flights departing from Atlanta. AirTran operated 220 departures when Southwest announced their plans to acquire AirTran back in 2010. One thing that passengers can expect in the months ahead is the ability to transfer their AirTran credits into Southwest points. This is expected to happen during the second quarter, although there has been no word yet on how the transfer will take place. The arrival of Southwest at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Monday was recognized by both Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Southwest has also launched its new online essay and video contest, which will raise $150,000 in grants for nonprofits in Georgia.

See the original Google News article for more details.

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