"The acquisition of AirTran represents a unique opportunity to extend our network into key markets we don't yet serve, such as Atlanta and Washington, D.C., via Ronald Reagan National Airport," Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said in a statement.
"It gives us the opportunity to serve more than 100 million customers annually from more than 100 different airports in the U.S. and near-international destinations, providing customers more low-fare destinations as we diversify and expand the well-known 'Southwest Effect' to hundreds of additional low-fare itineraries for the traveling public."
Kelly also put out that the merger would give Southwest access "near-international markets in the Caribbean and Mexico."
Southwest and AirTran are not expected to be fully integrated for two years. The fully merged company will operate under the Southwest name.
Southwest closes AirTran purchase
By Keith Laing - 05/02/11 05:20 PM EDT