VIDEO: Southwest chief Kelly on AirTran

US low-cost giant Southwest Airlines, which turns 40 in June, has moved a step closer to completing its merger with fellow budget operator AirTran after the US Department of Justice cleared the planned merger. The deal is now set to complete on 2 May.

southwest-2000_boeing.jpgSouthwest is already the largest low-cost carrier in the world, while AirTran was the eighth largest no-frills operator by revenue in 2010. The merged operation will create the biggest low-cost carrier in history with joint revenues of $14.7 billion based on 2010 performance.

We spoke to Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly about what the merger means for Southwest earlier this month, as part of  a special interactive edition of Airline Business looking at low-cost carriers. Here’s a short extract from our video interview with Kelly.

“It is a growth opportunity, and growth opportunities have been very hard to come by over the last couple of years with higher gas prices. It creates a stronger network and brings 38 new destinations and AirTran is a great fit for us.”

iABUS_Cover_2.jpgWatch the full interview in our interactive low-cost special edition of Airline Business here  

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