AirTran wins approval to start Cancun push with two new routes

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Dallas-based Southwest Airlines announced today that two new routes to Cancun from US cities have been approved by the US Department of Transportation.

AirTran, a Southwest subsidiary, will operate service between Denver and Cancun starting 16 April, the carrier said. The service will be daily through 7 July, then four days a week until 12 August.

AirTran also will operate between the Austin-Bergstrom International airport and Cancun starting 25 May. The service will continue four weekly frequencies through 31 August, then scale back to three frequencies after 1 September.

The new routes are the beginning of AirTran's push into Cancun and other Mexican markets from US cities.

AirTran also is competing with Frontier for DOT approval to launch service from Chicago to Cancun, using slots being vacated by charter group USA3000. Meanwhile, Southwest has confirmed that discussions are in progress with Houston Hobby airport officials about launching AirTran service to "near international" destinations.

As part of the recent build-up, AirTran will launch service between Hobby airport and Austin on 25 May. In addition, AirTran also plans to launch service between Hobby and San Antonio, Southwest said.