Frugal Mid-South air travelers got some hopeful news this week. Southwest Airlines announced its plan to acquire AirTran. The merger might have the effect of bringing Southwest to Memphis International Airport. That would mean more choices for local fliers and lower fares.
In other markets, entry from Southwest has forced all the competitors to reduce air fares. Local airport officials are saying that Southwest might increase the presence that Air Tran has now at Memphis International, but Southwest officials are not yet speaking about specific expansion plans. They are saying that the airline is interested in serving most, if not all, of AirTran's markets.
Memphis leaders have tried for years to lure Southwest to our area. This merger may grant them their wish, but many of the issues that caused Southwest not to choose Memphis in the past are still relevant today, so it's too early to start booking those flights.
In any event, those of us who travel from time to time are certainly welcoming the possibility.
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