AirTran Airways, now a subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, plans to cease operations at four airports in the first quarter next year.

The last day of service at Atlantic City, New Jersey; Moline, Illinois, and Asheville, North Carolina will be 6 January. Service to Newport News, Virginia, will end on 9 March, according to the airline.

AirTran said it "can no longer support service to these particular markets in light of the realities of the challenging economic environment and sustained high fuel prices". The carrier also added that affected employees at the airports "will have the opportunity to move elsewhere within the airline".

Newport News is the largest station of the four being eliminated, with a total of nine daily flights. Four of these are to Atlanta, along with two daily flights to both Boston and New York (LaGuardia) and a single daily flight to Orlando. All flights from Newport News are operated with Boeing 717s, according to the airline.

In Atlantic City, AirTran currently provides two daily flights to its Atlantic hub with its 717s. Moline, meanwhile, is served by four weekly 717 flights to Orlando, and Asheville currently has four weekly AirTran flights to both Orlando and Tampa.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news