DOJ Approves Southwest AirTran Deal


Southwest expects to complete its acquisition of AirTran on May 2.

Southwest Airlines and AirTran Holdings, Inc., the parent company of AirTran Airways, are that much closer to making their merger official. The companies reported that they have been notified by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the termination of its Hart-Scott-Rodino Act antitrust review and the closing of its investigation of the airlines’ pending merger. Southwest said that it plans to close the deal on May 2.

AirTran stockholders approved the acquisition of AirTran by Southwest Airlines on March 23 which, when combined with DOJ approval and other regulatory clearances, constitutes one of the final steps toward closing the transaction.

Upon closing, Southwest said that it will turn its efforts to welcoming its new colleagues and integrating AirTran’s operations. Next steps also include beginning work on securing a Single Operating Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration, which is currently projected for completion in the first quarter of 2012.

On Sept. 27,  2010, Southwest announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of AirTran for a combination of cash and Southwest Airlines’ common stock.

The merger of AirTran and Southwest Airlines is expected to generate substantial benefits to consumers, including the expansion of low-fare competition in airline markets across the U.S. and the creation of a broader network of routes and offerings.