Need to be transported by air with a low fare? AirTran Airways offers low-cost passenger transportation to almost 70 cities, mainly in the eastern US, but also in Aruba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. The airline operates from a primary hub in Atlanta and secondary hubs in Baltimore; Milwaukee; and Orlando, Florida. AirTran maintains a fleet of about 140 Boeing aircraft (717s and 737s). It is a leading carrier in the Atlanta market, behind Delta, which handles the largest share of the traffic at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. AirTran Airways was acquired by Southwest Airlines in 2011.
Unlike its parent, AirTran operates largely through a hub-and-spoke network system, with approximately half of its flights originating or terminating at its largest base of operation in Atlanta. The company also offers non-stop service from smaller airports in Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Orlando, Florida. During 2012, it added new destinations, including Mexico City and Cabo San Lucas, and new international service from Denver, Chicago, and San Antonio as well as Orange County, California and Austin, Texas.
AirTran also makes use of the Internet to facilitate customer bookings. AirTran.com produced approximately 54% of the company's revenues and a little more than half of its total bookings in 2012.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Southwest, based in Dallas, acquired AirTran Airways for $3.2 billion in stock, cash, and the assumption of AirTran debt, among other factors. The acquisition allows Southwest to significantly expand into geographical areas that it previously did not serve (or underserved), primarily in the Southeastern and Eastern parts of the US and smaller cities close to international vacation spots in Mexico and the Caribbean. In addition, the two companies had similar identities but with a few key differences. AirTran often offers lower fares than Delta, but unlike low-fare leader Southwest, AirTran Airways provides reserved seating and business-class service. Like Southwest, AirTran Airways has been able to maintain a lower cost structure than many of its larger rivals. The two companies are hashing out the new leadership structure; within days of the acquisition Southwest's executive VP Bob Jordan was appointed as the new president of AirTran Airways. Southwest plans to integrate AirTran into its operations over a period of several years. Eventually, it will be completely absorbed into the Southwest brand.
AirTran also has a marketing partnership with Frontier Airlines. Touted as a first among low-fare carriers, AirTran and Frontier refer passengers to each other and credit miles from one another's frequent flier programs. The deal stops short of code-sharing, which involves one carrier selling tickets for another's flights, but potential customers on the AirTran website can go to Frontier to book flights to destinations not served by AirTran, and vice-versa.