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Southwest Announces Intention to Close on AirTran Acquisition on May 2nd, 2011

Richmond Times Dispatch, April 21, 2011—Another call to action from the RTD editorial page editors about the importance of flying on AirTran and JetBlue whenever possible.

More Important Now Than Ever to Support RIC’s Low Cost Carriers

April 21, 2011. Southwest announced its intention to close on its transaction to acquire AirTran on May 2, 2011.

"With the overwhelming approval of AirTran stockholders in March, we are ready to move forward with closing the transaction, now planned for May 2nd," said Gary Kelly, Southwest's Chairman, President, and CEO. "We anticipate that all necessary regulatory approvals will be obtained by that date. We look forward to that milestone day, first and foremost, so that we can begin the exciting work to integrate AirTran into Southwest, and welcome the AirTran Crew Members fully into the Southwest Family."

The possibility for lower airfares on more flights to more destinations is getting closer in Richmond’s future.  It is important now that business and leisure travelers help to encourage the largest Southwest presence possible- as Southwest will be looking at AirTran’s numbers when evaluating the market- by flying on AirTran and JetBlue whenever possible.

Campaign Update

The Save Low Fares campaign is reaching out to the Richmond business community for action, and they are responding by flying on the low-cost carriers more often. AirTran and JetBlue's load factors on their primary business routes- Atlanta and Boston, respectively- are matching or surpassing legacy airline competitors' for the same destinations. Companies and organizations across the Region are aiding in the effort and making a difference. They are encouraging employees to fly on AirTran and JetBlue, even if it's up to $100 more expensive.

In addition, the four major jurisdictions-Chesterfield, City of Richmond, Hanover, and Henrico- in the region have come together and expressed their support for the campaign, each adopting resolutions in support of airline competition and the use of low-cost carriers. And, the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, the Richmond Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greater Richmond Partnership, Retail Merchants Association, as well as campaign champion Greater Richmond Chamber are behind the effort.

We have made significant progress, but there is still work to be done. Richmonders need to keep supporting our low cost carriers so they will maintain and expand their flight schedules. Your support for AirTran now also will send a loud and clear message that Richmond will be great city for Southwest.