Casey Urges Southwest to Continue Services in PA Provided by AirTran

Casey Urges Southwest to Continue Services in PA Provided by AirTran
 
WASHINGTON, DC— Following news of the proposed acquisition of AirTran by Southwest Airlines, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) wrote to Southwest CEO Gary Kelly urging that flight service at Pennsylvania airports served by AirTran be maintained.  Senator Casey cited the economic benefits associated with these routes and the value of maintaining travel options for Pennsylvanians.
 
“I appreciate Southwest Airline’s stated interest in serving the ‘vast majority, if not all of AirTran’s markets’ and recognize that a review of operations will be forthcoming after all necessary approvals have been granted,” wrote Senator Casey.  “Should this acquisition move forward, I would like to call your attention to AirTran’s presence in Pennsylvania and urge you to continue operations currently in place.” 
 
AirTran currently operates out of four airports in Pennsylvania: Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE), and Harrisburg International Airport (MDT). 
 
See below for the text of Senator Casey’s letter:
 
September 28, 2010
 
Dear Mr. Kelly:
 
I write today regarding Southwest Airlines’ proposed acquisition of AirTran Airways. In the event that this acquisition receives regulatory and shareholder approval, I encourage you to maintain AirTran’s presence in my home state of Pennsylvania.  Thank you in advance for your consideration of my views.
 
AirTran Airways currently operates out of four airports in Pennsylvania: Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE), and Harrisburg International Airport (MDT).  AirTran operates non-stop flights to Atlanta and Orlando out of all four airports.  Service to Fort Lauderdale is available out of Pittsburgh, Lehigh Valley, and Harrisburg.  AirTran’s operations out of Pittsburgh are the most robust in the Commonwealth with service available to Tampa and Miami in addition to those mentioned above.  Travelers in Pennsylvania have utilized AirTran flights from these airports for both business and leisure. 
 
I appreciate Southwest Airline’s stated interest in serving the “vast majority, if not all of AirTran’s markets” and recognize that a review of operations will be forthcoming after all necessary approvals have been granted.  Should this acquisition move forward, I would like to call your attention to AirTran’s presence in Pennsylvania and urge you to continue operations currently in place. 
 
These airports provide a significant economic benefit to the Commonwealth and provide travelers with substantial opportunities to connect to domestic and international destinations.  Passengers at all four airports have taken advantage of the non-stop flights to Atlanta, Orlando and other destinations and it is apparent that operating out of Pennsylvania makes good business sense. 
 
Thank you for your attention to this matter.  Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.
 
Sincerely,
 
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator
 
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