Southwest Airlines and its wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways report that the carriers received approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a Single Operating Certificate (SOC). The move marks 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, the airilne said.
"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.
Customers flying on AirTran will continue to make reservations or check in at airtran.com or by calling 800-247-8726, and visit AirTran kiosks and airport ticket counters. Customers flying on Southwest can continue to find fares or check in at southwest.com or by calling 800-435-9792, or at Southwest kiosks and airport ticket counters. Customers will continue to earn and redeem currency through the respective frequent flier loyalty programs. These programs will be integrated over time.
"We cannot overstate the significance of having received our Single Operating Certificate—it is a monumental step in the regulatory process—and achieving it enables us to move forward with the integration of the two airlines into a single carrier. " said Van de Ven.
Southwest Airlines announced plans to acquire AirTran Airways on September 27, 2010, an acquisition that significantly expanded Southwest Airlines' service.