AirTran Airways

AirTran Airways

airline=AirTran Airways
logo=AirTran Airways Logo.svg
founded = 1992 (as ValuJet)cite book|last=Norwood|first=Tom|coauthors=Wegg, John|title=North American Airlines Handbook|publisher=Airways International|location=Sandpoint, ID|date=2002|edition=3rd|isbn=0-9653993-8-9|url=]
commenced = October 26, 1993
parent=AirTran Holdings nyse2|AAI
company_slogan = nowrap|Go. There's Nothing Stopping You.
headquarters=Orlando, Florida
key_people=Robert Fornaro
(Chairman, President and CEO)

*Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport


*Baltimore-Washington International Airport
*Orlando International Airport


*Chicago Midway International Airport
*General Mitchell International Airport
*Logan International Airport [ [ latter part)] retrieved 7/10/2008] [ [ Annual Report(see pg.8-Last Sentence)] retrieved 7/10/2008] [ [ Presentation Proposing Midwest Airlines merger (see slide 6)] retrieved 7/10/2008]

frequent_flyer=A+ Rewards

AirTran Airways is a low-cost airline that is a Delaware corporation with headquarters in Orlando, Florida, USA and is a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings. AirTran operates over 750 daily flights throughout the eastern USA and the Midwest, including over 270 daily departures from Atlanta. It is the world's largest Boeing 717 operator. AirTran's principal hub is at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and the airline's parent company, AirTran Holdings, is headquartered at Orlando International Airport, where AirTran also maintains a secondary hub.


Early years

The airline was established in June 1993 and started operations on October 26, 1993 as Conquest Sun Airlines. It was renamed AirTran Airways in August 1994. At the time, AirTran had a similar name to American Trans Air (otherwise known as ATA) and this led to a confusion over branding. Following objections from Northwest Airlines to AirTran Airways' entry into the jet carrier business, its parent company signed an agreement with Northwest for the spin-off to shareholders of the non-airline businesses. They became part of a new holding company, AirWays Corporation,

In July 1997, AirWays Corporation announced a merger with ValuJet Airlines. In one of the U.S. airline industry's first reverse mergers, ValuJet was re-named AirTran Airways in 1997. This was done because the firm's public image never recovered from the crash of ValuJet Flight 592. On September 24, 1997 the parent company became AirTran Holdings Inc, and operations under new management began on September 1, 1998.

In October 1997, AirTran began assigning seats on its planes. AirTran has previously offered first come, first served, onboard seating (known by passengers as "the cattle call"), a practice popular with high-frequency, low-fare carriers (notably Southwest Airlines). The next month they added Business Class seats on every flight. Previously all flights had been in an all-coach (all-economy class) configuration. The old routes from Orlando by AirTran were systematically ended following the merger with ValuJet Airlines to focus on Atlanta. In March 1998, AirTran began a frequent flier program called A+ Rewards. In June 1998, "Entrepreneur Magazine" gave the airline its 1998 award for "Best Domestic Low-Fare Airline". The airline also won this award in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005. In July 1998, AirTran reported its first profitable quarter since early 1996.

On September 24, 1999 AirTran Airways became the first airline in the world to take delivery of the Boeing 717; it entered service on October 12, 1999. On December 12, 2000, AirTran launched services from Atlanta to its first international destination, Grand Bahama Island.

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, AirTran reduced its flight schedule by 20%. However, on October 7, 2001, AirTran returned to its normal schedule. The airline also took temporary concessions from several employee groups, and restored pay 45 days later. On October 15, 2001, AirTran became the first airline in the nation to reinforce the cockpit doors on all of its aircraft.Fact|date=September 2008 In November 2002, AirTran entered into an agreement with Air Wisconsin to provide regional jet service on some AirTran routes to free up Boeing 717 aircraft, a service called AirTran JetConnect. This agreement was terminated in mid-2004.

In June 2003, AirTran began new services operated by Ryan International Airlines to Denver, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles using Ryan International Airbus A320s painted in Air Tran livery, making it a coast-to-coast airline.

A growing company

On July 1, 2003, AirTran placed an order for 100 Boeing 737 aircraft. In October 2003, AirTran began services to Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National Airport, and to San Francisco the following month.

On January 5, 2004 AirTran's last Douglas DC-9 was retired, leaving it with a fleet of more than 70 Boeing 717s. The first Boeing 737 entered AirTran's fleet in June 2004, ending the service by Ryan. Later in 2004, AirTran sought a major expansion at Chicago-Midway Airport by buying the leases to ATA Airlines 14 gates. Southwest Airlines made a higher bid for the gates, and AirTran lost the deal.

On May 23, 2006, AirTran accepted one of the last two Boeing 717s delivered in a ceremony with Midwest Airlines, who accepted the other 717.

New services

AirTran offers 100 channels of XM satellite radio as in-flight entertainment on board all its aircraft in both business class and coach. It used Elton John's face as a promotional tool for the new service. In June 2007, AirTran began charging passengers $6.00 to guarantee an aisle or window seat and $20 to book a roomier emergency exit row seat. [ [ AirTran Now Allows Advance Seat Assignments To All Customers] ]

In November 2006, AirTran Airways partnered with Frontier Airlines, allowing frequent flyers to earn airline miles in either AirTran's A+ Rewards, or Frontier's EarlyReturns frequent flyer program. This is known as reciprocal earning (as opposed to reciprocal redemption). In addition the airlines will refer customers to each other when appropriate.

Expanding route map

In June 2005, AirTran announced plans to launch services from Atlanta and Tampa to Cancún, Mexico, though shelved the plans following the damage caused by Hurricane Wilma. On November 28, 2006, AirTran announced new daily nonstop service from Atlanta (ATL) to Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) which began on February 15, 2007. The new service to Phoenix resulted from an AirTran Airways' online survey which asked consumers, “Where do you want low fares next?”

On January 10, 2007, AirTran started service to Daytona Beach (DAB) and to Newburgh (SWF) utilizing their Boeing 717 aircraft; the former of which was discontinued in mid-2008. Service to St. Louis began on May 8, 2007, and service to San Diego began on May 24, 2007. On February 22, 2007, AirTran announced new nonstops from their Atlanta hub (ATL) to Charleston, SC (CHS); five days later, on February 27, 2007, AirTran also announced the addition of new nonstops from Baltimore (BWI) and Orlando (MCO) to Portland, Maine (PWM).

In February 2008, AirTran announced daily non-stop service between Atlanta and San Antonio, which began on June 7, 2008. On May 21, 2008, AirTran also added Burlington, VT with three daily flights to Baltimore-Washington. Also, in September 2008, AirTran announced new service to Columbus, OH (CMH) and Harrisburg, PA (MDT).

Recently, AirTran has shifted its attention to building up their operations in Milwaukee at General Mitchell International Airport. The airline is now trying to compete directly with rival Midwest Airlines after Midwest chose not to agree to AirTran's bid to purchase the airline. AirTran has said that Mitchell Airport will become the airline's next focus city. [ [ AirTran Announces General Mitchell Airport As New Focus City] ] AirTran was recently awarded 2 additional gates at General Mitchell International Airport which doubled their number of gates at the airport to 4. [ [ JS Online: AirTran plans major expansion at Mitchell ] ]

Failed acquisition

In December 2006 Air Tran Holdings announced that it had been trying to acquire Midwest Air Group. The details on this acquisition are in the AirTran Holdings article.

On August 12, 2007, AirTran announced its attempt to purchase Midwest Airlines had expired, while TPG Capital, in partnership with Northwest Airlines, had entered into an agreement to purchase Midwest Airlines for an amount larger than the AirTran Airways proposal. However, on August 14, 2007, AirTran increased its offer to the equivalent of $16.25 a share, slightly more than the $16 a share from TPG Capital investors group. [ [ AirTran boosts bid for Midwest Air] ] However, Midwest announced TPG would increase its offer to $17 per share and a definitive agreement had been reached late on August 16, 2007. [ [ Midwest announces agreement with TPG] . "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel", August 16, 2007.]

Problems with unions

On September 21, 2007, AirTran pilots, represented by the National Pilots Association, rejected the carrier's contract proposal. Two weeks earlier, the pilots voted to dump the union president and vice president. [ [] ]


AirTran Airways currently flies to 56 destinations throughout the United States. Upcoming schedule changes will increase AirTran's destination count at 57 when the airline discontinues service to Savannah, Georgia on October 27, and begins service to Columbus, Ohio on November 6, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on November 20, 2008. [ [] ]

New routes

AirTran Airways will begin service from the following cities to their listed destinations beginning on the listed date. Some routes listed below may already be operated by AirTran Airways from other destinations.
* Daily nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) and Milwaukee, WI (MKE) begins November 2, 2008 [ [ AirTran to expand Milwaukee service] ]
* Daily nonstop service between Atlanta, GA (ATL) and Columbus, OH (CMH) begins November 6, 2008 [ [ AirTran to begin service to Columbus] ]
* Daily nonstop service between Fort Myers, FL (RSW) and Columbus, OH (CMH) begins November 6, 2008 [ [ AirTran to begin service to Columbus] ]
* Daily nonstop service between Orlando, FL (MCO) and Columbus, OH (CMH) begins November 6, 2008 [ [ AirTran to begin service to Columbus] ]
* Daily nonstop service between Orlando, FL (MCO) and Harrisburg, PA (MDT) begins November 20, 2008 [ [] ]
* Daily nonstop service between San Juan, PR (SJU) and Baltimore, MD (BWI) begins December 20, 2008 [ [ AirTran Airways Announces New Service From Baltimore/Washington to San Juan] (Official Press Release: June 23, 2008)]
* Daily nonstop service between Atlanta, GA (ATL) and Cancun, Mexico (CUN) begins February 25, 2009 [ [] (Offical Press Release: October 2, 2008)]
* Weekend nonstop service between Baltimore/Washington (BWI) and Cancun, Mexico (CUN) begins March 7, 2009 [ [] (Official Press Release: October 2, 2008) ]

Discontinued routes

* Nonstop service between Savannah, GA (SAV) and Atlanta, GA (ATL) ends October 27, 2008 [ [ AirTran to end Savannah service] ]
* Nonstop service between Las Vegas, NV (LAS) and Indianapolis, IN (IND) ends December 1, 2008


AirTran operates one of the youngest Boeing fleets in the industry. As of September 2008, AirTran has 141 aircraft in its fleet consisting of: [ [ AirTran Airways Fleet Fact Sheet] ]
[ [ AirTran takes delivery of 50th 737NG] ]

As of September 2008, AirTran's average fleet age was 4.8 years. [ [ AirTran Fleet Age] ]


*Airbus A320-232 operated by Ryan International Airlines until their Boeing 737-700's were delivered.
*Boeing 737-200
*McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32


AirTran Airways operates under a two-class configuration with Business Class and the main cabin. All seats feature live, on-demand XM Satellite Radio. Usually, business class includes rows 1-3 and coach begins with row ten (there are no rows 4-9), skipping 13 due to superstition. AirTran serves snacks and Coca-Cola products. In the main cabin, alcoholic beverages can be purchased for a $6.00 fee, where in Business Class they are complimentary. AirTran is a cashless airline and only accepts credit and debit cards for onboard purchases. All passengers receive a copy of the airline's magazine "Go!" in their seat-back pockets.


AirTran's livery is primarily white, with teal on the ventral side. The sections are divided by parallel red and blue stripes, which runs roughly horizontal at the front, and starts to curve upward at the wings until it reaches the top side of the plane at the back of the vertical stabilizer. The nacelles are royal blue, with "" written in white Helvetica font. The logo version of "AirTran" is written toward the front on either side in teal above the passenger windows, and the vertical stabilizer is teal with a prominent white cursive "A", just like the beginning of the logo. Unlike previous liveries, the 737 nacelles are also painted. (737: [ N279AT] , 717: [ N892AT] )

Many planes still carry the previous livery, which has a completely tan front divided from a completely teal rear by an oblique ring of parallel red and blue stripes just behind the wings. The livery coincided with the acquisition of ValuJet, and applied to all of ValuJet's DC-9s. The nacelles on the DC-9 are also teal in this livery, while the nacelles on the 737 went unpainted. The 717s, when introduced, received a paint scheme identical in pattern to the DC-9s. (737: [ N737Q] , 717: [ N978AT] , DC-9: [ N902VJ] , A320: [ N941LF] )

The original livery was primarily white and green on the dorsal side, and blue on the ventral side, with a red stripe roughly horizontal between. The nacelles in this livery went unpainted. No 717 or DC-9 was ever painted in the original livery. (737: [ N467AT] )

Incidents and accidents

: "See also: Previous Incidents and Accidents as ValuJet"

Although ValuJet, which bought AirTran and decided to use the AirTran name, is infamous for the ValuJet Flight 592 disaster, the new combined airline under the name AirTran has not suffered an accident that has led to loss of life.


External links

* [ AirTran Airways official website]
*wikitravel|Cheap airline travel in North America‎
* [ Go inflight magazine]
* [ AirTran Airways Fleet Detail]
* [ AirTran Airways Fleet Age]
* [ AirTran Airways Seating Charts on]
* [ AirTran Airways' Yahoo! Finance Profile]
* [ AirTran Airways proposal to Midwest Airlines Board of Directors]
* [ With ValuJet in past, AirTran soars as others struggle] , "USA Today"

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