AirTran Stockholders Approve Southwest Merger


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AirTran Stockholders Approve Southwest Merger

By Eddy Metcalf

March 24, 2011 - AirTran Holdings, Inc. the parent company of AirTran Airways, announced on Wednesday that its stockholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the merger of a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines Co. with and into AirTran at a special meeting held in Orlando.

More than 98.6 percent of the votes cast and 77.5 percent of shares outstanding were voted in favor of the transaction. 

"We are grateful for our stockholders' strong vote of confidence in this merger," said Bob Fornaro, AirTran's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "In approving the transaction, our stockholders recognized the value of bringing together AirTran and Southwest to create a platform for increased profitability and sustainable long-term value." 

AirTran and Southwest announced the proposed merger on September 27, 2010. The companies are awaiting clearance on the proposed merger from the United States Department of Justice. The merger is currently expected to close by during the second quarter of 2011.

Southwest will to integrate AirTran into the Southwest brand by welcoming AirTran its employees into the Southwest. The closing of the acquisition will not necessarily trigger changes in pay rates for AirTran Crew Members. 

The pay rates for Crew Members either presently covered by AirTran collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), or who will be covered by Southwest CBAs, will be determined by the applicable, respective CBAs, as modified by any transition agreement. 

With respect to other employees, a number of factors could impact any pay changes, including for example, whether or not the AirTran Crew Members move to the same position or an alternative position at Southwest, and when that role becomes available. 

On Tuesday flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), reached a tentative agreement with AirTran Airways. Mediated talks took place under the auspices of the National Mediation Board.  The two-year agreement calls for pay increases and enhanced work rules. Specific terms will not be released until the over 2,000 Flight Attendants have had a chance to review the details. The tentative agreement will be sent out for membership review and ratification. The results will be counted on April 18. If ratified, the agreement would take effect May 1.


?AirTran Flight Attendants deserve a contract that reflects the contributions we have made to the success of our carrier,? said Alison Head, AFA AirTran President. ?While AirTran Flight Attendants look forward to the opportunities ahead with Southwest Airlines, we remained committed to negotiating improvements that advance our careers immediately. Over the past five weeks, AirTran Flight Attendants have been picketing across the country, sending a message that we would not rest until we had a new agreement in place. The company responded by coming to the table with responsible proposals.? 

In its 40th year of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low-fare carriers--offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 71 cities in 36 states.

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