Another day, another big merger in the skies: On Monday, Southwest Airlines announced that it had scooped up rival AirTran Airways, the second such acquisition this month after United and Continental joined forces. –KA

The New York Times:

Southwest Airlines, the nation’s largest low-fare carrier, said on Monday that it had agreed to buy its smaller rival AirTran Airways in a transaction valued at $1.4 billion, expanding its foothold in New York and Boston and allowing it to move into the nation’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson.

Southwest said the purchase had been approved by the boards of both companies, although it still needs regulatory and shareholder approval. The deal is valued at $3.4 billion when AirTran’s debt and aircraft leases are included.

[…] Domestically, the airline industry has been consolidating and reducing the number of seats offered as it attempts to return to profitability.

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