AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines receive a single operating certificate from the FAA

AirTran Airways’ (Orlando) integration into Southwest Airlines (Dallas) reached a new milestone on March 1 as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Washington) issued a single operating certificate (SOC) (AOC) to Southwest. Technically this means the end of AirTran as a stand alone airline although the brand will continue for now and the two airlines will continue to operate two separate fleets with two work forces and two brands until the integration is complete.

Southwest issued the following statement:

“Southwest Airlines and its wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways announced on March 1 the carriers received approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a Single Operating Certificate (SOC), marking a key milestone in the integration of the two airlines.  The process of a full integration of the AirTran Airways fleet into the Southwest Airlines fleet (i.e., paint scheme and interior configuration) is not complete and the transition to a single ticketing system is a large and complex process that will take several years to complete.

“While this is an important milestone and one that we are extremely proud to achieve, as a practical matter, most Employees and Customers will see little or no immediate difference in the two airlines’ flight operations, as allowed by having both carriers named on the Single Operating Certificate,” said Mike Van de Ven, Chief Operating Officer at Southwest Airlines.  “This will enable us to continue our integration in a coordinated and thoughtful manner while our Customers will continue to receive the highest level of service and Safety they have come to expect from both carriers.”

The FAA, Southwest Airlines, and AirTran Airways will address the following regulatory changes today:

  • The Southwest Airlines Air Carrier Operating Certificate will be amended to read “Southwest Airlines Co. and/or AirTran Airways Inc.”
  • The two airlines will conduct operations under a single set of FAA Operations Specifications.

Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways Customers will continue to experience the same great service from each airline. Customers flying on AirTran will continue to make reservations or check in at or by calling 800-247-8726, and visit AirTran kiosks and airport ticket counters.  AirTran Employees will still work on scheduled AirTran flights. Customers flying on Southwest can continue to find low fares or check in at or by calling 800-435-9792, or at Southwest kiosks and airport ticket counters.  Southwest Employees will still work on scheduled Southwest flights.  Customers will continue to earn and redeem currency through the respective frequent flier loyalty programs, as they do today.  These programs will be integrated over time.

Southwest Airlines announced plans to acquire AirTran Airways on September 27, 2010, an acquisition that significantly expanded Southwest Airlines’ low-fare service to more Customers in more domestic markets, creating hundreds of additional low-fare itineraries for the traveling public.  Since Southwest Airlines closed the deal to purchase AirTran Airways on May 2, 2011, both carriers have worked hard to guarantee a thoughtful and smooth integration process while providing the same high level of Customer Service that Customers have come to expect. Throughout the next several years, Southwest Airlines will continue the process of welcoming AirTran Employees to the Southwest Family, converting AirTran Airways aircraft to the Southwest paint scheme and interior configuration, and transitioning AirTran Airways gates to Southwest Airlines gates (beginning with Seattle in August of 2012). ”


Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

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