Southwest to Cut More AirTran Flights

Wednesday, May 8, 2013  |  Updated 11:22 AM CDT
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Southwest to Cut More AirTran Flights

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Southwest Airlines planes take off from the airline's hub at Dallas Love Field Airport March 12, 2008, in Dallas, Texas.

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Southwest Airlines will soon cut more AirTran routes this fall as it transforms AirTran's hub into a Southwest operation.

Southwest is eliminating routes between Atlanta and Memphis, Tenn.; Pensacola, Fla.; and Buffalo, N.Y., this fall, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Meanwhile, the Dallas-based airline is adding flights from Atlanta to Hartford and Oklahoma City. Also as part of the new flight schedule starting Nov. 3: Atlanta-San Juan, Puerto Rico service will be converted from AirTran to Southwest.

Southwest, which bought Orlando-based AirTran and its Atlanta hub in 2011, started its own Atlanta flights last year and has been gradually expanding them as it absorbs AirTran operations and planes. AirTran operates about 140 daily flights from Atlanta, the world's busiest airport, while Southwest has about 30.

"In Atlanta, we're essentially de-hubbing AirTran's model and moving to the Southwest point-to-point style operation," said Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly in a message to employees. "Here in the November flight schedule is the first time you can really see that shift taking place."

As part of the transition, the company announced last month that about 300 employees will be cut from the AirTran operation at Hartsfield-Jackson, with the option to relocate to another Southwest location.

Nationwide, Southwest plans to more rapidly shift flights from AirTran to Southwest, now that the two carriers' flight schedules are linked and AirTran locations in other airports have been converted to Southwest. By 2015, the AirTran name will disappear.

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