Another airline brand is gone.
On Sunday evening, Southwest Airlines operated the last AirTran Airways flight, flying a Boeing 717 from Atlanta to Tampa. The Dallas-based carrier bought AirTran in 2011 and retired the brand with the last flight.
“As we've grown in both the domestic and international markets, I can't help but think about all the doors the AirTran acquisition has opened for Southwest Airlines,” said Southwest CEO Gary Kelly in a statement.
Kelly was in Atlanta for the final send-off that was attended by over 400 employees. The final AirTran flight, Flight 1, retraced the airline’s first commercial flight in October 1993. It carried 117 passengers, many former employees and special guests.
Southwest bought AirTran for $1.4 billion in cash and stock. The merger enabled Southwest to add Caribbean destinations like San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Cancun and Aruba. It also gave Southwest landing slots at Washington D.C.’s Reagan National Airport and at AirTran’s hub in Atlanta.