5:39 am September 28, 2010, by Henry Unger
The big business story of the day — by far — was Monday’s announcement of the Southwest-AirTran combo.
AJC staffer and former airline beat reporter Russell Grantham provides some good perspective. He writes:
A little over seven years ago, AirTran Airways’ chief executive stood before cheering employees and Atlanta’s mayor to do a little chest-thumping.
Even as Delta Air Lines and other competitors were still struggling with the post-9/11 recession, then-CEO Joe Leonard announced that AirTran was ordering potentially more than 100 new jets in a bid to supercharge its growth.
“We think we can put our business model where we want it, and there’s not much our competitors can do about it,” said Leonard.
Well, except one competitor, as it turns out.
The $3.4 billion deal Southwest Airlines announced to acquire AirTran is largely aimed at rescuing both carriers from dwindling growth opportunities without igniting a damaging fare war, say some industry analysts.
The deal is another big course correction in the up-and-down history of AirTran.
Other merger stories:
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