Taken together, the two carriers’ combined 155.7 million passenger count in 2010 would rank Southwest as the second-largest airline in the world in terms of passengers carried, just behind Delta Air Lines, which carried more than 162 million.

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Southwest Airlines is intending to close on its planned purchase of AirTran Holdings, Inc., the parent company of AirTran Airways, on May 2 – and expects to appoint Bob Jordan, Southwest’s executive vice president strategy and planning, as president of AirTran Airways.

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The FAA is issuing an emergency airworthiness directive on April 5 requiring operators of specific early Boeing 737 models to conduct initial and repetitive eddy-current electromagnetic inspections for fatigue damage.

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By late afternoon on April 3, the new testing did detect small, sub-surface cracks in two 737-300s, according to Southwest, which says further evaluation and potential repairs will be necessary before those aircraft are returned to service.

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At a special meeting held on March 23 in Orlando, more than 98.6 per cent of the votes cast and 77.5 per cent of shares outstanding were voted in favor of the transaction, according to AirTran Holdings, Inc., the parent of AirTran Airways.

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In the updated program, which Southwst will officially launch on March 1, members can redeem their points for every seat on every flight with no blackout dates or seat restrictions and points will not expire if there is any earning activity in a 24-month time period.

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On June 5, 2011, Southwest Airlines will add service to these cities to the nonstop service it has already announced from Newark to Chicago Midway and St. Louis, which will begin on March 27.

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Southwest’s plan is to take delivery of the 20 Boeing 737-800s in full Extended-range, Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards configuration. This would enable Southwest Airlines to operate the 737-800s on routes between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii.

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Southwest Airlines expects to begin taking deliveries of new Boeing 737-800s in the first quarter of 2012 as a result of its pilots voting to approve a tentative agreement reached by their union negotiators with the airline in October 2010 over adding the 737-800 to Southwest’s fleet.

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Southwest Airlines’ flight attendants have ratified a tentative agreement reached between their union’s executive board and Southwest in September to add the Boeing 737-800 to their current collective-bargaining agreement.

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Southwest Airlines is going to charge an introductory flat rate of $5 per customer per flight for its WiFi HOTSPOT in-flight WiFi service, for any device or length of flight.

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Southwest Airlines will begin service to Newark Liberty International Airport with eight daily nonstop flights, six to Chicago Midway and two to St. Louis on Sunday, March 27, 2011.

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From November 12, customers can book service through Southwest Airlines from 20 of its cities to five Volaris Mexican destinations – Cancun, Guadalajara, Morelia, Toluca (just outside Mexico City) and Zacatecas – for travel starting December 1.

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Southwest Airlines has given March 13, 2011 as the date on which it will begin service to and from Charleston International Airport and Greenville-Spartanburg Airport.

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Southwest Airlines says its decision to add the Boeing 737-800 into its fleet has taken another step forward with the board of directors for the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association unanimously approving a tentative agreement reached with the company on a new pilot contract that would allow the airline to operate the larger 737 version.

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Southwest Airlines is to buy AirTran Holdings, the parent company of Air Tran Airways, in the biggest take-over yet of a U.S. low-cost airline by another. The enlarged Southwest would serve 106 communities, would operate nearly 1.4 million departures a year and for the first time Southwest would serve destinations outside the United States.

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Southwest Airlines says its potential decision to add Boeing 737-800s to its fleet has moved a step closer, with approval from the board of its flight attendants’ union to allow Southwest’s flight attendants to vote on the move.

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Continental Airlines has agreed to lease Southwest Airlines 36 take-off and landing slots at Newark Liberty International Airport which are currently held by Continental, in a deal that is contingent upon the merger of Continental Airlines and United Airlines being completed by November 30.

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Mike Van de Ven, executive vice president & chief operating officer of Southwest Airlines, sent a message to the carrier’s employees saying that Southwest has been evaluating the opportunity to introduce the Boeing 737-800 into its fleet.

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