Today’s an enormously significant day in Southwest history, though not for reasons seen by the naked eye. Southwest and AirTran have received approval by the Federal Aviation Administration for a Single Operating Certificate—a key milestone in the integration of the two airlines.
So what is a Single Operating Certificate (SOC)? Put in the simplest terms, it’s a highly-coveted piece of paper that will get neatly framed and hung on the wall (like the picture above).
Of course, it’s so much more than that.
This certificate will amend our current “Southwest Airlines Air Carrier Operating Certificate” to read “Southwest Airlines and/or AirTran Airways.” The two airlines will conduct operations under a single set of FAA Operations Specifications
Most Employees and Customers will see little or no immediate difference, but in the long-term, the SOC enables us to continue on our path to become one carrier.
Eventually, as we’ve noted before on Nuts, we plan to fully integrate the AirTran Airways fleet into the Southwest Airlines fleet (paint scheme, Evolve interior, a single ticketing system—the works!). With SOC, that plan continues full steam ahead, remaining on schedule.
Meanwhile, it’s business as usual for both Southwest and AirTran, and you’ll still get the same great service from each airline. But you’ll see a gradual shift, as opposed to flipping a switch, as we combine America’s two leading low-cost carriers into one, and spread low fares farther than ever before!
One LUV, baby!
To view full details of the SOC announcement, click here!
And for cryin' out loud, check out Stephen M. Keller's great video here!