Southwest offers first glimpse of Atlanta service

Washington DC
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Southwest Airlines plans to introduce its own metal from Atlanta beginning in February in five markets - Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver and Houston.

Dallas-based Southwest purchased AirTran Airways in May of this year, with access to AirTran's large hub in Atlanta playing a key role in driving the purchase.

Southwest plans two daily roundtrips from Atlanta to Austin, four to Baltimore-Washington International airport, two to Denver, three to Houston Hobby and four to Chicago Midway.

With the exception of Austin, AirTran offers an extensive number of weekly flights in all the markets. AirTran currently offers no nonstop flights from Atlanta to Austin, but Delta is well represented in Austin, and through service to all the other airports featured in Southwest's initial roll-out, according to schedules in the Innovata database. Continental Airlines also has a thorough service offering from Atlanta to Houston Intercontinental airport.

Touting the new service during a 22 August speech to Atlanta business leaders, Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly stated: "We're bringing especially great value to those of you who travel last-minute. Our fully refundable, walk-up fares will be, on average, more than 30 percent lower than anything currently in these markets."