Courtesy, Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines (SWA) said it will continue to operate to 22 airports now served by AirTran Airways, over time converting flights to/from those destinations to the SWA brand. However, it will cease services to six airports in AirTran's network after Aug. 12.

SWA, which acquired rival AirTran last year, said last week that it expects FAA to grant the carriers a single operating certificate by the end of March (ATW Daily News, Jan. 20). Effective Aug. 12, AirTran will cease serving Allentown, Pa. (ABE), Lexington, Ky. (LEX), Harrisburg, Pa. (MDT), Sarasota, Fla. (SRQ), Huntsville, Ala. (HSV) and White Plains, N.Y. (HPN).

All told (taking into account cities jointly served by the carriers), SWA plans to fly to 53 of the 69 airports to which Orlando-based AirTran operated when it was acquired by its Dallas-based rival in May 2011.

The AirTran airports that will eventually join SWA's network include Washington National (DCA), Memphis (MEM), Montego Bay (MBJ), Aruba (AUA), San Juan, P.R. (SJU), Bermuda (BDA), Flint, Mich. (FNT), Rochester, N.Y. (ROC), Pensacola, Fla. (PNS), Charlotte (CLT), Dayton, Ohio (DAY), Richmond, Va. (RIC), Key West, Fla. (EYW), Akron-Canton, Ohio (CAK), Wichita, Kan. (ICT), Des Moines, Iowa (DSM), Branson, Mo. (BKG), Portland, Maine (PWM), Grand Rapids, Mich. (GRR), Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ), Cancun (CUN) and Nassau, Bahamas (NAS). "AirTran service and employees at these airports are planned to convert to Southwest gradually over the course of AirTran's integration into Southwest," SWA stated.

Meanwhile, AirTran will begin serving Mexico City (MEX) May 24 and San Jose Cabo (SJD) June 3; those destinations will also convert to SWA eventually.

SWA said Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) will become the first airport now served by both carriers to convert to full SWA services; from Aug. 12, 41 daily flights branded as SWA will fly to/from SEA. The transition there won't be overly difficult because AirTran currently serves the market with one daily flight from SEA to Milwaukee (MKE) and seasonal service to both Atlanta (ATL) and Baltimore (BWI).

In addition, both carriers will add new flights from Aug. 12. SWA will fly thrice daily from ATL to both Norfolk, Va. (ORF) and Louisville (SDF), as well as twice daily between New York LaGuardia (LGA) and St. Louis (STL) and twice daily between STL and San Antonio (SAT). AirTran will launch two daily flights between CAK and Chicago Midway (MDW) from Aug. 12.