AirTran sets Milwaukee expansion

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AirTran Airways launched its long-awaited Milwaukee expansion with a 43% increase in service at the Wisconsin city.

By summer, the Orlando-based carrier will also offer 39% more weekly seats, compared to summer 2008.

The new service includes two daily roundtrips to Minneapolis/St. Paul, starting May 5 and increasing to three a day as of May 21, while AirTran also will offer two daily non-stops to St. Louis as of May 21.

It will also offer summer seasonal service to Denver between May 21 and September 8 and will also began daily roundtrips to the new airport at Branson, MO, as of May 11. Flights to Baltimore/Washington will increase from two to three with late May schedule.

The Milwaukee expansion includes seasonal destinations that will become permanent year-round service, with flight to Los Angeles International resuming April 14, to Boston Logan on May 21 and winter service to Tampa becoming year round seasonal service to both San Francisco and Seattle/Tacoma will be extended to October 30 and could become year-round, AirTran said.

AirTran had made an unsolicited offer for Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines 18 months ago, but was defeated when TPG (the former Texas Pacific Group) joined with Northwest Airlines to outbid it. Since then, Midwest has shrunk dramatically and AirTran is growing organically.