Southwest touts benefits of AirTran deal

By Reuters
Posted Oct. 28, 2010 at 11:55 a.m.

Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines Co. said Thursday it expects to win over new customers and bring lower fares to unserved cities should its purchase of AirTran Holdings Inc. be completed.

“This really has the opportunity financially to be a hone run for our shareholders, our employees and customers,” Southwest Executive Vice President of Strategy and Planning Bob Jordan told a media briefing at company headquarters in Dallas.
Southwest announced last month it would buy rival AirTran for roughly $1 billion in an aggressive move to challenge bigger rivals in lucrative East Coast markets.

The company said the purchase would allow it to expand its traditional low-fare offerings to markets including Atlanta, where Delta Air Lines has its biggest hub.

Jordan said Southwest could add a host of destinations to the AirTran network that are not  served out of Atlanta. He added that Atlanta could eventually become the largest city that Southwest serves.

The company also said its “Bags Fly Free” advertising campaign has helped gain new customers and strengthen its brand awareness. It added that future ads would tout its no-change fee that applies when consumers modify their flight plans.

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