AirTran Stockholders Approve Sale to Southwest AirlinesMar 25th, 2011 | By Chris Strong | Category: Business and Finance
AirTran Holdings, the parent of AirTran Airways, announced Wednesday that its stockholders had approved the sale of the airline to Southwest Airlines for $1.4 billion. The move would give Southwest access to the major traffic hub of Atlanta and to routes to Mexico and the Caribbean.
“We are grateful for our stockholders’ strong vote of confidence in this merger,” announced Bob Fornaro, the chairman, president, and chief executive officer of AirTran. “In approving the transaction, our stockholders recognized the value of bringing together AirTran and Southwest to create a platform for increased profitability and sustainable long-term value.”
The move passed overwhelmingly, with 98.6 percent of votes cast and 77.5 percent of shares outstanding voted in favor.
The proposed merger, first announced September 27, 2010, is pending regulatory antitrust approval from the United States Department of Justice. The companies expect the merger to close during the second quarter of 2011, but cautioned investors that all forward-looking statements are subject to change and risk.
Until the merger is finalized, both companies will continue to operate independently.
AirTran Airways has ranked as the number one low-cost carrier in the Airline Quality Rating study for the last three years. From its hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, it offers coast-to-coast service on North America’s newest all-Boeing fleet. It is the only major airline to offer Gogo Inflight Internet on every flight. Other offerings include assigned seating and Business Class and complimentary XM Satellite Radio on every flight.
Southwest Airlines, based in Dallas, is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, serving 71 cities in 36 states. The airline operates more than 3,400 flights a day and employs nearly 35,000 workers.