It brings me great joy and tremendous pride to announce today that Southwest Airlines has closed on the transaction to acquire AirTran Airways. Today is an exciting day for both airlines. Today, we let the ink dry and celebrate.
Of course, all good things take time – and change will not be immediate. For now, Southwest and AirTran will continue to operate as two separate carriers as work begins “behind the scenes” to integrate the operations and to eventually provide a uniform Customer Experience. In the meantime, our Employees will do what they do best by delivering world-class Customer Service.
All Customer travel plans and investments in each airline’s respective loyalty program are safe–Customers can continue to earn and redeem in both programs independently. Customers will continue to book Southwest flights through southwest.com and AirTran flights through airtran.com. We will maintain our respective and separate operating and service policies as we work towards a Single Operating Certificate.
Combined, we have the unique opportunity to extend our network into key markets that would be impossible independently – with the prospect to serve more than 100 million Customers annually from more than 100 different airports in the U.S. and near-international destinations. Over time, as we continue to combine the two networks, we will grow and expand our network to provide Customers more low fare options into exciting new places. I’m excited just thinking about the opportunities.
Once integration is complete, we will have one Brand, one Customer Experience, one livery, one operation under a Single Operating Certificate, and one Mission – to give the world the Freedom to Fly while spreading low fares farther.