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SOUTHWEST AIRLINES TO ACQUIRE AIRTRAN; SPREADING LOW FARES FARTHER

gkelly1
Not applicable

Southwest Airlines announced today that we have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of AirTran Holdings, Inc., a parent company of AirTran Airways (AirTran), for a combination of cash and Southwest Airlines common stock. 

Although the agreement depends certain approvals, we’re all very excited about what it can mean for our Employees, our Customers, the Communities we serve, and our Shareholders.
If approved, the acquisition will give us broader national presence – allowing us to offer low fares and exceptional service in markets that will benefit from increased competition.

But there’s a lot of work to be done and decisions to be made, and nothing changes right now.
Until the deal closes, Southwest and AirTran will continue to operate as separate and independent companies.

In the meantime, we have developed a special website – www.lowfaresfarther.com – where you’ll find our news release and more information about today’s exciting announcement!  

Important Information for Investors and Stockholders

This communication does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval.  The proposed acquisition of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (“AirTran”) by Southwest Airlines Co. (“Southwest”) will be submitted to the stockholders of AirTran for their consideration.  In connection therewith, Southwest will file a registration statement on Form S-4 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) that will include a proxy statement of AirTran that also constitutes a prospectus of Southwest.  Southwest and AirTran also plan to file other documents with the SEC regarding the proposed transaction.  SOUTHWEST URGES INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS OF AIRTRAN TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS THAT WILL BE FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION.  Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the proxy statement/prospectus and other documents containing important information about Southwest and AirTran, once such documents are filed with the SEC, through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov.  Copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Southwest will be available free of charge on Southwest’s website at www.southwest.com under the tab “Investor Relations” or by contacting Southwest’s Investor Relations Department at (214) 792-4415.  Copies of the documents filed with the SEC by AirTran will be available free of charge on AirTran’s website at www.airtran.com under the tab “Investor Relations” or by contacting AirTran’s Investor Relations Department at (407) 318-5187.

Southwest, AirTran and certain of their respective directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the stockholders of AirTran in connection with the proposed transaction.  Information about the directors and executive officers of Southwest is set forth in its proxy statement for its 2010 annual meeting of shareholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 16, 2010.  Information about the directors and executive officers of AirTran is set forth in its proxy statement for its 2010 annual meeting of stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 2, 2010.  These documents can be obtained free of charge from the sources indicated above.  Other information regarding the participants in the proxy solicitation and a description of their direct and indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be contained in the proxy statement/prospectus and other relevant materials to be filed with the SEC when they become available.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This communication contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of  1933, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements are based on, and include statements about, Southwest’s estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, and strategies for the future.  Specific forward-looking statement include, without limitation, statements regarding Southwest’s plans and expectations with respect to the acquisition of AirTran and the anticipated impact of the acquisition on Southwest’s operations, including without limitation, the expected impact of the acquisition on (i) Southwest’s growth and  competitive position; and (ii) its Customer experience.  These forward-looking statements are based on Southwest’s current intent, expectations, and projections and are not guarantees of future performance. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them.  Factors include, among others, (i) the possibility that the transaction is delayed or does not close, including due to the inability of Southwest and AirTran to obtain all approvals necessary or the failure of other closing conditions; (ii) Southwest’s ability to successfully integrate AirTran’s business and realize the expected synergies from the transaction; (iii) the impact of the economy on demand for air travel and fluctuations in consumer demand generally for the services to be provided as a result of the transaction; (iv) the impact of fuel prices and economic conditions on Southwest’s business plans and strategies; (v) actions of competitors, including without limitation pricing, scheduling, and capacity decisions, and consolidation and alliance activities; and (vi) the impact of governmental regulations on Southwest’s operations.

Southwest cautions that the foregoing list of factors is not exclusive.  Additional information concerning these and other risks is contained in Southwest’s and AirTran’s most recently filed Annual Reports on Form 10-K, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, recent Current Reports on Form 8-K, and other SEC filings.  Southwest undertakes no obligation to publicly update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date herof.

 


 

64 Comments
Joyce_Salisbury
Not applicable
We frequently fly AirTran because they do not serve peanuts and we have a 7 year old son with a peanut allergy. AirTran was one of THE BEST airlines in making announcements to request passengers not open peanut products, not serving bags of peanuts, etc.. Please, please, please share with your leadership my, my family, and many others sincere hope that they will not change AirTrans policies regarding allergic passengers. We are truly running out of airlines that will help us "reduce the risk" by at least not serving little peanuts that get all over the cabin and not cleaned up (understanding that no flight is guaranteed to be allergy free.) I would be excited about the places Southwest flies (a lot more options for places we love to go) but alas, I can not be happy.
TC4
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Nothing has changed, 3 days later. I still want my affordable business class, and I still want XM radio. Oh, and it'd be nice to at least SEE the price of your tickets on sites like Kayak. I'm not even going to ask for reserved seating since we all know how you somehow cannot make that work. But I'm going to miss that on AirTran too. You people slobbering at the mouth about how great Southwest is have apparently never enjoyed those offerings of AirTran.
Joyce_Salisbury
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If these are reviewed before posting.. I put my full name and would prefer the intials JS in MI. Thanks,
Anonymous2530
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Congratulations Southwest! I'm excited my favorite airline will be flying to more destinations. I love your structure, no seat assignments, ease at the gate- a no-hassel orderly system to get on the plane, (much better than the pushing and shoving of people even WITH seat assignments) luggage flies free, peanuts, pretzels, and soft drinks are free, happy faces and a joke or two that makes your smile. Please don't change - start your training program with ATran now. P.S. I also hope you fly to Memphis - what a hassel it is to get there.
A_Customer_of_B
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Gary Kelly- PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE consider keeping XM and making it a part of the new Southwest. It is the one thing I've always envied about AirTran that we don't have out of BNA b/c they don't fly here. That would truly be fantastic! I don't care about the business class or assigned seating, but just please keep the XM! You would solidify a wandering customer into always flying SWA if you did. It's even offered free right now on AirTran in typical SW no fee style. Thanks.
bstevens
New Arrival
To Joyce with the peanut allergic child... We have procedures in place to assist our Customers with severe allergies to peanut dust and will make every attempt not to serve packaged peanuts on the aircraft when our Customers alert us of their allergy to peanut dust. We ask Customers with peanut dust allergies making reservations over the phone to advise our Customer Representatives of the allergy at the time the reservation is made. If the reservation is made via a travel agent, the Customer should telephone 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) afterward to speak with a Customer Representative. If the reservation is made via southwest.com, the Customer may advise us of the allergy on the "Southwest Airlines Payment and Passenger Information" screen by clicking on the link to "Add/Edit Disability Assistance Options." Please see http://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/unique-travel-needs/allergies-disabilities-pol.html for more information.
swaeri
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As a long time and loyal SWA customer this announcement made me feel squeasy (queasy with a smile). I'm thankful for the additional destinations, but have a lot of questions. Are you adding their fleet of 717's to your fleet? How will the AirTran employees affect your legendary SWA culture? ATL is an ugly bottle neck, I'm afraid adding this to your existing hubs will create all kind of delays through your network. Your corproate culture, simplicity of a single fleet and avoidance of major hubs has a lot to do with SWA's sucess. This is a risky move.
Mike_Barnbaum
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Gary: For a long time I've been wanting to visit my sister in Kent, Ohio. The Canton/Akron (CAK) Airport, I have found after doing some research with AirTran is a mere ten miles away from Kent. I flipped over backward in my home desk chair because I couldn't believe how close it was. Current SouthWest service into Cleveland (CLE) is 37 miles away from Kent. With this acquisition forthcoming, pending the regulatory approval process, as well as your recent approval of getting 18 slots at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in Newark, New Jersey, SouthWest Airlines has better positioned me to focus my flying on one airline to all of the destinations that I want to go to without resorting to other airlines (legacy airlines or low cost carriers). The Newark situation allows me to visit my other sister in Essex County, New Jersey, which just happends to be in the same County as the (EWR) International Airport. This sister has two young sons, currently age eight and age six. Your frontline staff at airports and on the aircraft serve me well. They have great knowlege of the job and they have a great sense of humor. I have not been able to find that in any other airline I have flown to this date. I have also made "telephone friends" with some of your Headquarters Staff from the likes of Brian Lusk, Dan Smith, Bill Owen, and Pete McGlade. I would like to invite you and as many of your staff as possible to Sacramento (SMF) International Airport in the fourth quarter of 2011. The Sacramento County Airport System is embarking on what perhaps could be one of the largest airport public works projects in the United States of America. The "Big Build" as it is called, is positioning Sacramento for the future with a newly established Terminal B. It will modernize Sacramento and allow it to compete with other Northern California Airports in years to come. The project is currently on schedule with an estimated opening date of fourth quarter 2011 (October - December). I am proud of Southwest Airlines service at Sacramento International Airport as well as the airports that I have flown Southwest to in recent years. Once finished, I hope you will enjoy the new look Sacramento International Airport and what it has to offer for SouthWest Airlines. In the meantime, please let me know what I can do, as we approach the NBA Season to "provide an assist" to Southwest Airlines gameplan in completing the acquisition and the regulatory process in bringing AirTran Airways fully into SouthWest Airlines. Sincerely, Mike Barnbaum
Anonymous3875
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Hey depressed in ohio.... Really?? Are you seriously that dramatic in real life?? Give me a BREAK, dude...
Anonymous425
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I just hope Southwest isnt biting off more than they can chew. I mean the folks obviously know what their doing, but I'd just hate to see something go wrong and my favorite airline go down the drain. Good luck Southwest!
Anonymous3536
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The acquisition really changes the dynamics of the business. It seems to make more sense now to do things like adding service in Cincinnati, putting a 3 to 4 city schedule in Memphis, expanding Minneapolis/Saint Paul Service to Florida, Milwaukee and Baltimore , and expanding in Boston
videoroadie
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YAY!!!!! having been from atlanta and flying for 40 weeks out of the year for the past 25 years , we in the av bussiness mostly fly southwest because you can change flights at any time and a ticket is alwayys worth what you pay for it. People who hate sw just don't understand how to fly in todays marketplace. You need to checkin online and pay attention to what you are doing!!! do not just show up 1 hour before your flight and then demand that your family of 5 get to board and sit together... checkin online 24 hours before or pay for the early seating... if you need an assighned seat... fly delta!! Every day , i deal with stupid , rude passengers , who should not be flying in the first place.I used to fly delta everywhere , but got tired of the bitter , pissed - off flight attendants and the general attitude of 'whe love to fly and it shows.." they love to fly ..just not with you.... sorry , I got side tracked... anyway .. i hope SW will replace most of the airtran employees with the same people.... just turn them in to SW employees first... i have talked with thousands of southwest people over the years ...and have heard not a single complaint from any employee , anywhere .... the same cannot be said of any other airline i know of except Quantus. Southwests bussiness model works well and is the only hope for future profits in the airling bussiness ... they turn planes faster , by 15-30 minuites over the competing airlines allowing them to serve more cities in the same 24 hours..... the company is run well (thanks Herb!) and the employees are truly treated like family in a small bussiness .I hope this means I can now use my rewards for a trip to Grand Bahama ... in the meantime .. all us roadies will keep singing the praises of an airline that really is more fun to fly..... Thanks Southwest randy...aka videoroadie ps: when are you adding Hawaii and China/Japan?
dilbert
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DILBERT Air Tran flies from West Virginia. I have often wished Soutwest flew into Charleston West Virgina from Houston Texas and vise versa. Continental needs the competition. I once was home visiting family and I flew Delta (used a ticket I had) and flew my parents back to Houson on Continental (no layovers); my flight was returning at the same time but I had to fly thru Detroit with a layover. I went to the Continental counter to see if I could buy a ticket to fly with my parents (one way Charleston to Houston) and just forget my Delta Ticket. They wanted $800.00 on way ticket. I did not take it. My parents told me the Continental flight was not booked solid, so Continental lost my business. It's things like that trying to fly home (Charleston West Virginia) from Houston that make me wish I had other options. Maybe the buy of Air Tran will help
Roz_Hawkins
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Is Southwest planning to include any flights to Orlando from Rochester NY now that it has taken over Air Tran? If so, when??