When Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways announced they would merge last week, local travelers — esp. those somewhat frugal ones — rejoiced.
For years, some of us have been driving to Little Rock to fly Southwest, the nation's largest domestic passenger carrier and often one of the most inexpensive. (Also, their employees seem to like to tell jokes.)
But with the merger, it looks like Memphis International will finally have service on Southwest.
If you're interested in how the merger came to be — it probably won't be finalized until next spring — the AJC has a business story about the deal between code name "Falcon," "Atlanta-focused" AirTran, and "Cowboy," Dallas-based Southwest, as well as an Q&A with AirTran CEO Bob Fornaro.
“When [Southwest CEO] Gary [Kelly] called, first of all, I wasn’t sure what the subject would be,” Fornaro said. “I certainly went with the mindset, ‘Let’s see what Gary has to say. I was really unsure, but... I thought about Southwest relative to AirTran.”
Among other things, he said, he thought about the much-larger Southwest’s “vast resources” to not only pull off a large-scale acquisition but also fuel future growth.