Southwest Airlines has declared its EVP of strategy and planning Bob Jordan will become president of AirTran after it closes the acquisition of the Atlanta-hubbed carrier on 2 May.
Current AirTran CEO Bob Fornaro will remain in a consultancy role during the AirTran integration. Jordan will continue to report to Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, and retain his current responsibilities for Southwest's technology, finance, internal audit and corporate planning departments.
Southwest aims to achieve a single operating certificate from the FAA in 2012 and reach full integration with AirTran in 2013.
During a 21 April earnings call Kelly explained after close the two carriers will continue to operate separately, stressing it would be months, not weeks. He states AirTran's schedule is published through year end, and there are no immediate plans to alter the current schedule. But once Southwest has access to some of AirTran's proprietary information, changes could be made before AirTran's next schedule publish date, Kelly explains.
Southwest states until a single operating is issued by FAA next year, AirTran's operational departments will continue operating as they do currently headed by AirTran's EVP of operations and customer service Klaus Goersch, who will report to Jordan. Southwest current COO Mike Van de Ven will oversee operational leadership for both airlines.