4 OCTOBER 2010
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Southwest Airlines is to buy rival airline AirTran Airways for US$1.4bn. Southwest, the prototype for all other low cost carriers, is the largest airline in the world by number of passengers carried per year. AirTran was created in 1997 after a reverse take-over of Valujet, an airline whose name had been tarnished following a fatal crash in the Miami swamps.
The purchase will increase Southwest’s network, giving it presence in and out of Atlanta for the first time. The deal will also see Southwest expand in key markets, New York LaGuardia, Boston Logan, plus Washington/Baltimore and Ronald Reagan National. The purchase may slow plans to develop international long haul services in the future, possibly to Europe. Its headquarters are at Dallas Love Field. www.southwest.com
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