AirTran Airways, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, United States

AirTran Airways is an American low-cost airline headquartered in Dallas, Texas and is a subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, with which it is currently being integrated. AirTran operates nearly 700 daily flights, primarily in the eastern and midwestern United States, with its principal hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport where it operates nearly 200 daily departures. AirTran's fleet consists of Boeing 717 aircraft, of which it was the largest operator, and Boeing 737-700 aircraft. On August 15, 2001, the company's stock began trading under the ticker symbol AAI on the New York Stock Exchange. In October 2003, AirTran began services to Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National Airport, and to San Francisco the following month. On July 1, 2003, AirTran placed an order for 100 Boeing 737 aircraft. On January 5, 2004, AirTran's last Douglas DC-9 was retired, leaving it with a fleet of more than 70 Boeing 717s. The first Boeing 737 entered AirTran's fleet in June 2004, ending the service by Ryan which were used on an interim basis to fly transcontinental flights in order to compete with JetBlue which had recently begun service from Atlanta to the west coast. JetBlue later left Atlanta due to increased competition from AirTran and Delta. On May 23, 2006, AirTran accepted one of the last two Boeing 717s delivered in a ceremony with Midwest Airlines, who accepted the other 717. In November 2007, Robert L. Fornaro took over as CEO, as well as President. Joe Leonard remained Chairman of the Board of Directors until June 2008. Upon his retirement, Fornaro then became Chairman making him Chairman, President and CEO. In 2009, AirTran Airways was the first major airline to outfit all of its aircraft with Gogo Inflight Internet. By 2009 AirTran underwent major expansion in smaller cities such as Yeager Airport (Charleston, WV); Asheville Regional Airport, NC; and Harrisburg International Airport, PA. On April 6, 2010 AirTran Airways opened their second crew base, at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, the same day they officially announced Milwaukee as their second hub. On July 27, 2010, AirTran Airways hosted the grand opening of their new System Operations Control (SOC) Center at Orlando International Airport. This 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2), $6.9 million state-of-the-art command center serves as the 24-hour nerve center for the entire airline with over 700 flights per day. The company employs more than 1,000 crew members in central Florida at several facilities, including their corporate headquarters, the SOC and a maintenance facility in addition to passengers operations at the airport. After considering putting the SOC Center in Atlanta where AirTran has their largest hub, the decision was made to expand the facility in Orlando adjacent to AirTran's headquarters. On July 17, 2010, AirTran Airways announced plans to open a crew base at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida. The base initially employed 100 pilots, including a chief pilot. Orlando joins Atlanta and Milwaukee. In October 2010, the crew base opened at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida. Prior to the winding down of the airline, AirTran grew to serve more than 70 cities coast-to-coast as well as in the Caribbean and Mexico with more than 700 flights per day and over 8,500 crew members serving nearly 25 million passengers per year. On September 27, 2010, Southwest Airlines announced they would acquire AirTran Airways for a total cost of $1.4 billion. The acquisition would give Southwest a significant presence at many of AirTran's hubs such as Atlanta (then the largest U.S. city without Southwest service), Milwaukee, and expanded service in Baltimore and Orlando. With the merger, Southwest adds international service to several leisure destinations such as Cancún, Montego Bay and Aruba. Southwest will integrate AirTran's fleet of Boeing 737-700 series aircraft into Southwest Airlines brand and livery, and the Boeing 717 fleet will be leased out to Delta Air Lines starting mid-2013. The airlines plan to have the acquisition completed and finalized within the next two years; until then, the carriers will operate as separate airlines. The deal closed on May 2, 2011 and a single operating certificate for the combined carrier was achieved March 1, 2012.Total integration of all employee groups between the two carriers is expected to be completed by 2015. On February 14, 2013, Southwest Airlines announced that they had began codesharing with AirTran. They took the first step on January 26, 2013, by launching shared itineraries in five markets. Southwest continued launching shared itineraries with 39 more markets beginning February 25, 2013. By April 2013, shared itineraries will be available in all Southwest and AirTran cities (domestic and international). Southwest anticipates that the integration will be complete in late 2014.


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