Southwest Airlines and its wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways confirmed Friday the intent to convert AirTran Airways operations at 22 domestic and international airports, including the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina, to Southwest operations over time.
Of the 69 cities AirTran served when Southwest acquired it on May 2, 2011, 53 cities are planned to convert to full Southwest Airlines service. By keeping its business at LMM, the carrier is also sparing jobs.
“We are committed to continuing to serve these communities — at first via AirTran, and eventually as Southwest. We know there are Southwest customers who want access to these cities, but have never before had the opportunity, and the markets have long desired Southwest service,” said Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer and AirTran Airways President Bob Jordan.
“We are excited about the cities we have chosen to keep in our combined network. At the same time, there are some markets that we simply cannot make work in the current fuel environment, so we’ve had to make the decision to discontinue service in those locations,” he said.
Effective Aug. 12, AirTran Airways will cease operations at the following airports: Allentown, Pa. (ABE); Lexington, Ky. (LEX); Harrisburg, Pa. (MDT); Sarasota, Fla. (SRQ); Huntsville, Ala. (HSV); and White Plains, N.Y. (HPN). AirTran employees at those airports will have the opportunity to move elsewhere within AirTran, company officials said.
“The airline industry continues to face many challenges, including significantly higher fuel costs,” Jordan said. “We must do everything we can to operate efficiently and profitably, align service with customer demand, and deliver the legendary customer service for which both airlines are known.”