Southwest prioritises IT infrastructure for international flying

Washington DC
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Southwest Airlines' top priority as it proceeds with its integration with AirTran is to put the information technology (IT) infrastructure in place to support the transition of AirTran's international flying to Southwest.

Southwest acquired AirTran in May 2011 and announced today that it will work with IT provider Amadeus to implement a reservations system that will allow Southwest to operate internationally in 2014.

AirTran operates to Mexico and the Caribbean and these flights will transition to Southwest as the two airlines continue their integration efforts.

Southwest's deal with Amadeus also includes the option for the airline to use the IT provider to change its domestic passenger service system to Amadeus in the future. Southwest currently uses Sabre while AirTran is on the Navitaire New Skies platform.

Southwest aims to be able to sell AirTran's fares in 2013, says Southwest's chief executive Gary Kelly in an earnings call today. He declines to be more specific on a date for when this will happen, saying that he does not have a timeline that he is confident in.

Eleven AirTran aircraft will transition to a Southwest configuration this year, while more than 60 will go through the change in 2013, says Kelly.