By Keith Laing
Southwest Airlines said Thursday that its acquisition of rival discount airline AirTran Airways is expected to be concluded next month.
"With the overwhelming approval of AirTran stockholders in March, we are ready to move forward with closing the transaction, now planned for May 2nd," Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said in a statement.
"We anticipate that all necessary regulatory approvals will be obtained by that date. We look forward to that milestone day, first and foremost, so that we can begin the exciting work to integrate AirTran into Southwest, and welcome the AirTran Crew Members fully into the Southwest Family," Kelly said.
Southwest said its vice president, Bob Jordan, would be president of AirTran while the airlines operate separately in the initial stages of its merger. The airlines are not expected to be fully integrated for two years.