5:45 am April 27, 2011, by Henry Unger
Those waiting for years for Southwest Airlines to enter the Atlanta market can see the finish line now.
AirTran Airways’ sale to Dallas-based Southwest got the all-clear from the U.S. Department of Justice Tuesday, removing the last major hurdle before the deal closes next Monday, AJC reporter Kelly Yamanouchi writes.
The Justice Department’s antitrust division said it determined that the merger “is not likely to substantially lessen competition,” Yamanouchi reports.
The two airlines expect to officially complete the acquisition May 2. After that, it could take up to two years to fully combine the two carriers under the Southwest name, Yamanouchi writes.
The deal will bring Southwest to Atlanta, bringing a bigger competitor to go up against Delta. It will eventually spell the end of Orlando-based AirTran as its operations are folded into Southwest, Yamanouchi reports.
Southwest is expected to eventually eliminate AirTran’s baggage fees to align it with Southwest’s free checked bags policy, but that won’t happen immediately, Yamanouchi writes.
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- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat
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