Southwest and AirTran aim for single AOC by 1 March

Washington DC
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Southwest Airlines aims to obtain a single operating certificate for its operations and that of AirTran Airways by 1 March.

Southwest, which closed on its acquisition of AirTran on 2 May, had previously said it expects to receive the AOC in the first quarter of 2012.

The carrier's chief financial officer Laura Wright, who detailed the AOC timeline at the Dahlman Rose & Co Global Transportation Conference, said the two airlines will begin integration efforts upon receiving the AOC.

They have already moved operations next to each other at 11 airports and will proceed to do so at four additional cities this month, said Wright.

In addition, Southwest has started sharing the services of its ramp employees with AirTran at smaller airports where both carriers serve, she added.

Southwest has said it expects to leverage on AirTran's presence in Atlanta. It announced plans last month to introduce its own aircraft on new services from Atlanta, and will operate non-stop flights to seven cities by early March 2012.

The airline plans to base 15 Southwest aircraft in Atlanta from next February, said Wright.