a letter from gary kelly
chairman, president and ceo
Spreading Low Fares Farther
In September 2010, we announced plans to acquire AirTran Airways—a strategic move that would allow our two airlines to join forces and spread low fares farther. We officially closed the deal in May 2011, and we have been hard at work bringing our companies together ever since. We are in the homestretch of the integration: By the end of the year we will be one airline with one Brand, one Customer Experience, and one flight schedule—all flying under the Southwest Airlines flag.
I’m pleased to report that the integration is right on track. On the evening of December 28, AirTran Airways Flight 1 from Atlanta to Tampa, Florida, will be the carrier’s final scheduled departure. In the meantime, we will continue to operate as two brands as we transition our AirTran Employees, aircraft, and resources to Southwest.
The AirTran acquisition has been the linchpin of a bold set of strategic initiatives designed to allow Southwest to grow on the heels of an economic recession. It has given us access to several key markets, including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, New York’s LaGuardia Airport, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The acquisition has also given us the running start we needed to offer international service on Southwest, which we launched in July with service to Mexico and the Caribbean.
We will close 2014 with our wholly owned subsidiary, AirTran, fully integrated into Southwest, and at that point we will serve a network of 93 destinations in five countries. This has been our top priority for the past four years, and it has been a massive undertaking—arguably the biggest in our Company’s history.
I’m incredibly proud of the way that our Employees from AirTran and Southwest have come together; it’s been a marriage of kindred spirits, and I think we have set a new industry standard for integrating airlines. The end result of our work will be a stronger, better Southwest, committed to doing what we’ve always done: offering our Customers low fares, the best Customer Service in the industry, and a robust and convenient flight schedule. To all our Customers, old and new, thanks for coming along for the ride!
Chairman, President and CEO