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View Full Version : Southwest Airlines purchases AirTran Airways


Quad 2.5 G5 =)
Sep 27, 2010, 02:20 PM
Today, Southwest Airlines made an announcement that they would purchase AirTran, based out of Orlando, but has a main hub in Atlanta, for $1.4 Billion dollars. This will allow Southwest to enter markets in the Northeast, most importantly Washington National, Charlotte,and Atlanta. The necessary government departments have not approved it yet, but will most likely approve it without restrictions. More information is available here. (http://www.lowfaresfarther.com/)

Mods: If this thread is in the wrong place, my apologies, and please move it to the appropriate place.

iShater
Sep 27, 2010, 02:33 PM
Sweet! No I can fly SW out of MKE! :D


Wait! Is that a good thing? :p

Quad 2.5 G5 =)
Sep 27, 2010, 02:38 PM
Sweet! No I can fly SW out of MKE! :D


Wait! Is that a good thing? :p

More destinations, no bag fees, bigger network. Yup, it's a good thing.

quagmire
Sep 27, 2010, 02:38 PM
I don't know why they did this. Did they buy Airtran simply for their routes and they will liquidate their planes( since Southwest only flies the Boeing 737)?

Quad 2.5 G5 =)
Sep 27, 2010, 02:52 PM
I don't know why they did this. Did they buy Airtran simply for their routes and they will liquidate their planes( since Southwest only flies the Boeing 737)?

They will keep the other plane type, but shut down Airtran's Dallas/Fort Worth service when they are both integrated, since there is some form of agreement prohibiting Southwest from DFW for a unspecified amount of time. (I do not know how long). Purchasing AirTran will allow new cities to be served without the hassle of applying for slots, etc. They will keep all planes, employes, most routes. (Only cutting routes that do not make any money whatsoever) This will also get them a quicker way to get a larger 737 for Hawaii service which has been a rumor in the airline industry for quite some time.

yg17
Sep 27, 2010, 02:55 PM
I don't know why they did this. Did they buy Airtran simply for their routes and they will liquidate their planes( since Southwest only flies the Boeing 737)?

Southwest has always exclusively flown 737s, but I don't think that means they can't change that and fly Airtran's 717s. It might allow them to serve smaller markets that aren't big enough to fill the seats on a 737.

Quad 2.5 G5 =)
Sep 27, 2010, 02:59 PM
Southwest has always exclusively flown 737s, but I don't think that means they can't change that and fly Airtran's 717s. It might allow them to serve smaller markets that aren't big enough to fill the seats on a 737.

This is correct. They operated 727s during the 1970-80's briefly. (Yes, I am more knowledgeable about the airline industry than I am with Macs.) First class on the 717s will go bye-bye, but they will stay unless Southwest finds them uneconomical.

quagmire
Sep 27, 2010, 03:05 PM
They will keep the other plane type, but shut down Airtran's Dallas/Fort Worth service when they are both integrated, since there is some form of agreement prohibiting Southwest from DFW for a unspecified amount of time. (I do not know how long). Purchasing AirTran will allow new cities to be served without the hassle of applying for slots, etc. They will keep all planes, employes, most routes. (Only cutting routes that do not make any money whatsoever) This will also get them a quicker way to get a larger 737 for Hawaii service which has been a rumor in the airline industry for quite some time.

Keeping the 717's do concern me as I will post below why.

Southwest's flight attendant association did approve the plan for Southwest to add the 737-800 to their fleet. So one step is already done to add the 800 to the fleet.

Southwest has always exclusively flown 737s, but I don't think that means they can't change that and fly Airtran's 717s. It might allow them to serve smaller markets that aren't big enough to fill the seats on a 737.

JetBlue's move comes to mind about my worry. JetBlue exclusively flew the A320. They like Southwest was making pretty good profits due to the savings of maintenance, training, etc. They then added the E190 and profits went down the tube.

And considering I want to fly with Southwest one day, only flying the 737 appeals to me due to the simplified training and the cost savings of flying only one type of aircraft hopefully means in bad times, the savings in maintenance, etc will be enough for Southwest to remain profitable and not have to reach into my salary to cut costs.

yg17
Sep 27, 2010, 03:06 PM
Keeping the 717's do concern me as I will post below why.

Southwest's flight attendant association did approve the plan for Southwest to add the 737-800 to their fleet. So one step is already done to add the 800 to the fleet.



JetBlue's move comes to mind about my worry. JetBlue exclusively flew the A320. They like Southwest was making pretty good profits due to the savings of maintenance, training, etc. They then added the E190 and profits went down the tube.

And considering I want to fly with Southwest one day, only flying the 737 appeals to me due to the simplified training.

I know absolutely nothing about flying a plane, but wouldn't a 717 and a 737 have more in common than an A320 and E190 since they're from the same manufacturer?

Rodimus Prime
Sep 27, 2010, 03:24 PM
I know absolutely nothing about flying a plane, but wouldn't a 717 and a 737 have more in common than an A320 and E190 since they're from the same manufacturer?

different interstmetns and what not.
An American Airlines pilot I knew hated southwest because because of southwest alone boeing would not update the 737 gauges from analog to digital. Southwest told boeing they would not buy any planes that had that. Reason for it is Southwest did not want to pay to train their pilots on 2 different cockpits lay outs.

Southwest has lead the industry in modernizing thing. They were to first to give all their pilots laptops to calculated take off thrust and what not. I believe that they paid the complete cost off in 3 months in fuel savings alone. On top of the fact they were able to jump 5-6+ planes waiting to take off if condition changed or another runway opened up because those 5+ planes pilots were redoing all the calculation to figure take off thrust and the Southwest pilots were done in a matter of seconds.

After Southwest proved that the rest of the airlines follow suit and fork out the cash for laptops. Now this was in the 90's so back when laptops were still very costly.

jav6454
Sep 27, 2010, 03:32 PM
In the big picture, good because Airtran and Southwest make one large network now. In the small to middle picture bad because competition goes away and prices might soar a bit.

Right now, the only left big airlines are American (personal favorite), SouthWest, United, Delta, and JetBlue. Not much choice, and worst of all, only Southwest offers free 2 bags, the rest charge for domestic flights (ouch).

quagmire
Sep 27, 2010, 03:36 PM
In the big picture, good because Airtran and Southwest make one large network now. In the small to middle picture bad because competition goes away and prices might soar a bit.

Right now, the only left big airlines are American (personal favorite), SouthWest, United, Delta, and JetBlue. Not much choice, and worst of all, only Southwest offers free 2 bags, the rest charge for domestic flights (ouch).

There wasn't much choice anyway. The airline industry was always mostly an oligarchy type of industry where you only have few choices and they always follow one another in policies( much like AT&T and Verizon always mirror each others moves).

If I want anything to go away in the airline industry, it is the regional airlines. They pay like crap. I believe a FO starting out makes ~$20,000/yr. Not looking forward to that part of my career..... Overworked and underpaid. Pilots should make $40,000 base considering the responsibility and schedule we have, IMHO.

yg17
Sep 27, 2010, 03:54 PM
There wasn't much choice anyway. The airline industry was always mostly an oligarchy type of industry where you only have few choices and they always follow one another in policies( much like AT&T and Verizon always mirror each others moves).

If I want anything to go away in the airline industry, it is the regional airlines. They pay like crap. I believe a FO starting out makes ~$20,000/yr. Not looking forward to that part of my career..... Overworked and underpaid. Pilots should make $40,000 base considering the responsibility and schedule we have, IMHO.

I never like the fact that the guy flying the plane I'm on makes about the same as a full time McDonalds employee. Even the pilots who get a somewhat decent wage are still making less than me and I'm someone who sits on their ass in front of a computer screen for 8 hours a day and gets to go home at the end of his shift. Of course, to pay pilots a wage they deserve, airfares would shoot up to the point where nobody could afford them.

Quad 2.5 G5 =)
Sep 27, 2010, 04:51 PM
There wasn't much choice anyway. The airline industry was always mostly an oligarchy type of industry where you only have few choices and they always follow one another in policies( much like AT&T and Verizon always mirror each others moves).

If I want anything to go away in the airline industry, it is the regional airlines. They pay like crap. I believe a FO starting out makes ~$20,000/yr. Not looking forward to that part of my career..... Overworked and underpaid. Pilots should make $40,000 base considering the responsibility and schedule we have, IMHO.

The new United is working out how to stop using the regional airlines, and only use mainline. After this, others will start dumping theirs too. Southwest starts their First Officers at $50,000, from what my mom says. (She is a Captain for Southwest, based out of Phoenix, and coincidentally, Dad is also a pilot for US Airways.)

bobr1952
Sep 27, 2010, 04:56 PM
I got an email from AirTran today about this--first I had heard of it. I don't fly much and usually just go to Canton-Akron OH--always with AirTran. They are actually headquartered out of Orlando. I like SW, no bag fees--so this should be a good thing.

quagmire
Sep 27, 2010, 05:02 PM
The new United is working out how to stop using the regional airlines, and only use mainline. After this, others will start dumping theirs too. Southwest starts their First Officers at $50,000, from what my mom says. (She is a Captain for Southwest, based out of Phoenix, and coincidentally, Dad is also a pilot for US Airways.)

That is nice and all, but even if the majors dump their contracts with the regionals doesn't mean I won't have to work for the regionals anymore. I will still need to go there and build up some turbine time after I build enough hours working as an instructor to get my ATP due to the new regulations passed by Congress listening to the stupid victim's families of the Colgan crash. :mad:

Quad 2.5 G5 =)
Sep 27, 2010, 05:07 PM
That is nice and all, but even if the majors dump their contracts with the regionals doesn't mean I won't have to work for the regionals anymore. I will still need to go there and build up some turbine time after I build enough hours working as an instructor to get my ATP due to the new regulations passed by Congress listening to the stupid victim's families of the Colgan crash. :mad:

Unless I am mistaken, the only routes most, if not all regionals fly are contracts, so once those go, you can wave goodbye to them.

quagmire
Sep 27, 2010, 05:09 PM
Unless I am mistaken, the only routes most, if not all regionals fly are contracts, so once those go, you can wave goodbye to them.

It all depends if they try to survive independently after the majors dump them. It will be hard considering hardly anyone knows who they are. I hope they do go bye bye, but I don't see Southwest putting me in the right seat of a 737 coming from being an instructor on a Diamond Twin Star( Riddle's current multi-engine trainer).

dmr727
Sep 27, 2010, 05:12 PM
Unless I am mistaken, the only routes most, if not all regionals fly are contracts, so once those go, you can wave goodbye to them.

The problem is that without the regionals, there's no easy* path to gain the experience required to be hired by the majors. SWA has comparatively great starting pay, but how does someone (like quagmire) get the thousand hours of turbine pilot-in-command that's required to be hired there? That's a big hurdle.

*easy in the sense of time - there's nothing easy about working for a regional! :p

samiwas
Sep 27, 2010, 05:18 PM
This ***** SUCKS. I've been flying AirTran for years, building up frequent flyer points, and almost always fly business class due to upgrades and such. The merger, according to the website, will do away with business class and seat assignments altogether. I guess I will be finding a new airline, as I'm not sure I can go back to dealing with the general public on airplanes.

God, this pisses me off.

dmr727
Sep 27, 2010, 05:19 PM
I guess I will be finding a new airline, as I'm not sure I can go back to dealing with the general public on airplanes.


LOL! I'm sorry about your situation, but this made me laugh. :D

Quad 2.5 G5 =)
Sep 27, 2010, 05:21 PM
This ***** SUCKS. I've been flying AirTran for years, building up frequent flyer points, and almost always fly business class due to upgrades and such. The merger, according to the website, will do away with business class and seat assignments altogether. I guess I will be finding a new airline, as I'm not sure I can go back to dealing with the general public on airplanes.

God, this pisses me off.

There's always Delta :)

hikeNM
Sep 27, 2010, 08:39 PM
LOL! I'm sorry about your situation, but this made me laugh. :D


Yeah, me too!

It must be a tough life.

Counterfit
Sep 28, 2010, 03:21 AM
This will allow Southwest to enter markets in the Northeast, most importantly Washington National, Charlotte,and Atlanta.
Um, what?
It all depends if they try to survive independently after the majors dump them. It will be hard considering hardly anyone knows who they are. I hope they do go bye bye, but I don't see Southwest putting me in the right seat of a 737 coming from being an instructor on a Diamond Twin Star( Riddle's current multi-engine trainer).

You know, your username makes so much more sense now...


Do you get drunk very quickly when playing never have I ever?

StealthRider
Sep 28, 2010, 04:37 AM
I know absolutely nothing about flying a plane, but wouldn't a 717 and a 737 have more in common than an A320 and E190 since they're from the same manufacturer?

You would think this would be the case, but nope - the 717 is actually just a renamed McDonnell-Douglas MD95. Boeing bought the company and renamed the aircraft project. The flight decks, handling characteristics, etc. are completely different - one reason why the 717 never really caught on.

Rodimus Prime
Sep 28, 2010, 10:47 AM
I was reading more on this today in the Houston paper and it was stated that Southwest started looking and talking about this with AirTran at this around the time rumors of Contenatal l and Delta merger were starting.
Now everyone was expecting the Contental and Delta merger but no one was expecting the Southwest and AirTran one. What was more shocking they stated was it had stayed a secret for so long. It was an out of left field announcement. They said it will take at least 2 years before everything is completed and they all the paper work done.

quagmire
Sep 28, 2010, 03:13 PM
You know, your username makes so much more sense now...


Do you get drunk very quickly when playing never have I ever?

Haha. I didn't even want to be a pilot when I chose this screen name. It fell into place I guess.

No. I don't like to drink and don't like the taste of alcohol. Which I think airlines will love especially after the drunk pilot incident that happened last week. ;) :p

jzuena
Sep 28, 2010, 04:53 PM
In the big picture, good because Airtran and Southwest make one large network now. In the small to middle picture bad because competition goes away and prices might soar a bit.

Right now, the only left big airlines are American (personal favorite), SouthWest, United, Delta, and JetBlue. Not much choice, and worst of all, only Southwest offers free 2 bags, the rest charge for domestic flights (ouch).

JetBlue (my personal favorite airline) still allows 1 free bag, which is better than the rest. I could have used this last September flying BOS-BWI one week before JetBlue started flying that route. Went AirTran and had to pay bag fees for the first time.

That is nice and all, but even if the majors dump their contracts with the regionals doesn't mean I won't have to work for the regionals anymore. I will still need to go there and build up some turbine time after I build enough hours working as an instructor to get my ATP due to the new regulations passed by Congress listening to the stupid victim's families of the Colgan crash. :mad:

1500 hours and an ATP to sit in the right seat... makes me glad I chose flying as a hobby and not a career. You do still have the option of regional freight carriers which I don't think are affected by the new rule. Lots of the fixed-wing instructors at the first FBO I flew with went on to Wiggins Airways here in the Northeast. They still list 2000 TT and 1000 PIC with commercial + instrument plus 500 ME if you want to fly one of their multi engine planes with no mention of an ATP. Turboprops not turbines, but a break from CFI (and a more steady pay) while working on your ATP.

bobr1952
Sep 28, 2010, 05:31 PM
You would think this would be the case, but nope - the 717 is actually just a renamed McDonnell-Douglas MD95. Boeing bought the company and renamed the aircraft project. The flight decks, handling characteristics, etc. are completely different - one reason why the 717 never really caught on.

That's interesting--too bad--it is a nice little jet--I always like to sit on the "2 seat" side. AirTran must have bought all of them. :D

Quad 2.5 G5 =)
Sep 28, 2010, 06:13 PM
That's interesting--too bad--it is a nice little jet--I always like to sit on the "2 seat" side. AirTran must have bought all of them. :D

The 717 is a nice jet, quiet, very quiet in the front. Airtran has 86 (estimated) of them, and Southwest will be keeping them until the leases run out, or they will keep them for longer, or possibly purchase 25 more of them that are from Midwest Airlines. It will be interesting to see what routes they put them on, most likely routes that are too much for a 737 (137 seats), compared to the 717 with 117 seats.

quagmire
Sep 28, 2010, 06:20 PM
Turboprops not turbines, but a break from CFI (and a more steady pay) while working on your ATP.

Turboprops are turbine engines. They are just not jet engines. :)

FoxyKaye
Sep 29, 2010, 02:48 PM
There's always Delta :)
I wish I could take credit for this:

Doesn't
Ever
Leave
The
Airport

dmr727
Sep 29, 2010, 03:26 PM
^^^ my wife likes to sing, "Deltaaaaaa....we're learning to fly, and it shows!"

yg17
Sep 29, 2010, 03:48 PM
I wish I could take credit for this:

Doesn't
Ever
Leave
The
Airport

My favorite:

Delivers
Everyone's
Luggage
To
Atlanta

:p

Quad 2.5 G5 =)
Sep 29, 2010, 08:34 PM
^^^ my wife likes to sing, "Deltaaaaaa....we're learning to fly, and it shows!"

They still haven't gotten to the loading all the bags quite yet.

quagmire
Sep 29, 2010, 08:44 PM
^^^ my wife likes to sing, "Deltaaaaaa....we're learning to fly, and it shows!"

That explains why that flight landed on a taxiway...... :p

ohaithar
Sep 29, 2010, 09:08 PM
So with this merger, that leaves us with

United
American
Usair
Delta
Southwest
Frontier
JetBlue
Alaska
Hawaiian

as the major airlines of America?

Quad 2.5 G5 =)
Sep 29, 2010, 10:05 PM
So with this merger, that leaves us with

United
American
Usair
Delta
Southwest
Frontier
JetBlue
Alaska
Hawaiian

as the major airlines of America?

Pretty much, yes.

aethelbert
Oct 2, 2010, 10:57 PM
Sorry to bump this thread from oblivion (new mods: bring on Teh Ban Hampsterz!) but I feel an itch to chime in. I've been gone all week traveling for work, and actually qualified for diamond on Delta as I apparently have no real life!

The new United is working out how to stop using the regional airlines, and only use mainline. After this, others will start dumping theirs too.
I'm not sure where you got this information, but nowhere is this on their agenda. There are many catchment areas of 2M+ in which both UA and CO have virtually halted mainline service. Most of these markets are in the midwest, and have already been handed over to Delta and the LCCs on a silver platter. Restoring mainline service to some of these places would require a completely new hiring campaign for airport personnel alongside major pushes to regain a share of these local frequent flyer markets.

Tilton and Smisek have both placed huge focuses on outsourcing to regional carriers in recent years. In fact, compared to 2000, United's capacity is up slightly, yet their total mainline fleet size has been reduced by almost 40%: considering the PS subfleet and a slight growth in the international fleet, their actual domesic mainline fleet is only about 40% the size that it was ten years ago. On top of that, United's new and ever-expanding contracts with ExpressJet seem to show that the Embrarer flying is here to stay. They're in pretty deep with these contracts.

This ***** SUCKS. I've been flying AirTran for years, building up frequent flyer points, and almost always fly business class due to upgrades and such. The merger, according to the website, will do away with business class and seat assignments altogether. I guess I will be finding a new airline, as I'm not sure I can go back to dealing with the general public on airplanes.

God, this pisses me off.
For what it's worth, Delta will immediately match your AirTran Elite status to Silver Medallion. If you fly enough to get to gold (50k miles or 60 segments), I'd definitely recommend that switch.

Disclaimer: Idiots fly Delta, too. Sitting next to me in 2B on Delta may be worse than sitting with the cattle on Southwest. :eek:

The 717 is a nice jet, quiet, very quiet in the front. Airtran has 86 (estimated) of them, and Southwest will be keeping them until the leases run out, or they will keep them for longer, or possibly purchase 25 more of them that are from Midwest Airlines. It will be interesting to see what routes they put them on, most likely routes that are too much for a 737 (137 seats), compared to the 717 with 117 seats.
It's worth noting that WN doesn't fly to many markets where they can't support at least eight flights each day. AirTran, however, does. Multiple AirTran destinations won't be able to support 737s due to runway lengths, and thus probably won't be viable for the combined carrier in the long-term. The CRJs will be trashed first for certain, likely followed by the focus city in Milwaukee. The 717s have traditionally served the lowest-yielding routes in FL's network, and probably won't work well in most of Southwest's markets.

As to the 717s from YX, almost all of them went to Click and their futures are unknown at this point. If Aeromexico decides to take over most of Mexicana's assets, they'll probably be serving the same Mexican domestic routes as before. A few that were returned to Boeing are now being leased privately by individuals, as well.

Well, that's enough. And still three hours until my redeye. FML. It's a damn good thing that there are free cookies and wine selections in the lounge. :rolleyes:

Quad 2.5 G5 =)
Oct 4, 2010, 10:02 AM
Disclaimer: Idiots fly Delta, too. Sitting next to me in 2B on Delta may be worse than sitting with the cattle on Southwest. :eek:

It's worth noting that WN doesn't fly to many markets where they can't support at least eight flights each day. AirTran, however, does. Multiple AirTran destinations won't be able to support 737s due to runway lengths, and thus probably won't be viable for the combined carrier in the long-term. The CRJs will be trashed first for certain, likely followed by the focus city in Milwaukee. The 717s have traditionally served the lowest-yielding routes in FL's network, and probably won't work well in most of Southwest's markets.


Well, that's enough. And still three hours until my redeye. FML. It's a damn good thing that there are free cookies and wine selections in the lounge. :rolleyes:

Idiots fly every airline, unfortunately, and some routes are worse than others..(Flights to Orlando are very loud, because of all the families with small children (and not so small) going to DisneyWorld.)

AirTran doesn't fly CRJs. And the 717s might work on a few routes, not sure what ones, but it's probable that they won't just dump them when they're merged.

yg17
Oct 4, 2010, 10:41 AM
Idiots fly every airline, unfortunately, and some routes are worse than others..(Flights to Orlando are very loud, because of all the families with small children (and not so small) going to DisneyWorld.)

I was flying back from Fort Lauderdale a couple summers ago and had to change planes in Orlando. Never again. I will pay more for nonstop or settle for a layover in a city completely ouf of my way or leave or arrive at a more inconvenient time before I fly through Orlando.

aethelbert
Oct 4, 2010, 04:48 PM
Idiots fly every airline, unfortunately, and some routes are worse than others..(Flights to Orlando are very loud, because of all the families with small children (and not so small) going to DisneyWorld.)
Yes, I know... It was a joke. I'm kind of, erm, well traveled by nature of my work.

AirTran doesn't fly CRJs. And the 717s might work on a few routes, not sure what ones, but it's probable that they won't just dump them when they're merged.
AirTran has a contract for six CRJs based out of MKE. They run a lot of feeder routes in the region timed to compete with Midwest/Frontier. They exist to fuel the MKE-west coast routes, but have largely failed. They're still around as they want to run RAH out of town.

The 717s hardly work well for any routes now, partly because of its higher CASM than the 737NGs that have only 20 more seats. Even if a route can't fill a 717, the costs for running the station and the flights are very close to the same. Consider that total accumulated revenue for the 717 is lower than the 737, assuming that both are full, and it's clear that it won't fit in WN's business model or route structure without a major overhaul to their entire network. They won't get dumped immediately, but they'll be gradually pawned off to an airline that can use them more effectively.

I was flying back from Fort Lauderdale a couple summers ago and had to change planes in Orlando. Never again. I will pay more for nonstop or settle for a layover in a city completely ouf of my way or leave or arrive at a more inconvenient time before I fly through Orlando.
I remember sitting in the Delta lounge a few years back at MCO coming home from a conference. It's tucked away up some stairs and down a long hallway, but at least two families with multiple strollers still found it while I was there.

"Welcome to the Crown Room Club. How may I assist you?"

"What do you have to eat?"

"Do you have a membership, sir?"

"This isn't a public lounge??????"

"No"

"But there are signs pointing here!"
--

The airport, and the city itself, seem less obnoxious in wintertime, though.