Air Tran Air
Air Tran Air, also known as AirTran Airways or TransAir Airlines, has its origins in 1992 with the creation of ValuJet Airlines in Georgia. The originators were airline veterans including former mechanics, pilots, executives and attendants working for the old Eastern Air Lines.
Air Tran Air – Origins
Taking advantage of free slots at Atlanta International Airport, ValuJet started with only two DC-9 aircraft. The first paying customer flight took place between Atlanta and Tampa on 26 October, 1993. The airline was the first to instigate ticketless travel.
With FAA investigations into excessive cost-cutting and aircraft crashes, the widespread negative publicity led to financial issues. In 1997 Valujet publicised that it would merge with the much smaller Airways corporation, the parent company of Air Tran Air. In 1997 the company headquarters relocated to Orlando.
The original Air Tran Air, or AirTran Airways was a predominatlly Boeing 737 operator with services to Orlando. Mesaba airlines, the holding company, bought a startup company known as Conquest Sun and merged the company. The new holding company was titled Airways Corporation.
In January 1999 a brand new management group arose at Air Tran Air led by Joe Leonard and Robert Fornaro. In 2001 the company started tradiing on the NYSE as the ticker symbol AAI.
Air Tran Air – Expansion
In October 2003 Air Tran Air started services to Washington, DC. This was followed by regular flights to San Francisco in the next few months.
In 2003 Air Tran Air ordered aircraft from Boeing; 100 737 jets. Later, in 2004 the remaining Douglas aircraft was removed and the company was left with a fleet consisting of 70 Boeing 717s. The Boeing 737 joined the fleet in 2004.
In 2004, Air Tran Air tried to arrange a major expansion at Chicago-Midway Airport by buying the the leases of ATA Airlines’ 14 gates. Southwest Airlines submitted a higher offer for the gates, and AirTrans lost out on the leases.
Air Tran Air – Midwest Air Group
n December 2006, Air Tran Holdings announced that it had tried to purchase Midwest Air Group. In 2007, Air Tran Air publicised that its effort to buy Midwest Airlines had expired, while TPG Capital, in combination with Northwest Airlines, had entered into an arrangement to buy Midwest Airlines for a higher dollar figure than AirTran Airways’ offer.
But, on August 14, 2007, Air Tran Air improved its offer to $16.25 a share, a bit more than the $16 a share from TPG Capital. But, Midwest then agreed that TPG would raise its offer to $17 per share and a final agreement was reached on August 16.
In 2007, Air Tran Air pilots, represented by the National Pilots Association, declined the carrier’s contract proposal. Two weeks earlier, the pilots voted to fire the union president and vice president.
At November 2010, Air Tran Air network expanded to more than 70 cities coast-to-coast as well as flights to the Caribbean with more than 700 flights a day and over 8,500 crew members dealing with 25 million passengers a year.
Air Tran Air – Southwest Airlines
In 2010, Southwest Airlines publicly said it would purchase Orlando-based Air Tran Air (Airways) for $1.4 billion. The purchase gave Southwest an expanded presence at many of AirTran’s hubs such as Atlanta, Milwaukee, WI, and Orlando.
With the purchase, Southwest now has international service to many leisure destinations such as Cancún, Montego Bay and Aruba. Southwest is merging Air Tran Air fleet of Boeing 717s and Boeing 737-700 series aircraft into Southwest Airlines livery.
The airlines forecast to have the merger completed and finalized within the next two years; until then, operations for both companies will remain as separate carriers.
The arrangement was finalised on May 2, 2011 and a single operating airline certificate for the joint carrier is expected to be achieved March 2, 2012.Integration of employee groups between the two airlines has already begun, with Air Tran Air expected to be completely absorbed by 2015
Incoming search terms:
- air tran origins
- tranair com