Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Southwest Airlines acquisition of AirTran Airways still scheduled to close in early 2011

Southwest Airlines Senior VP-Finance and CFO Laura Wright told investors and media at the 2010 Hudson Securities Airline Conference Wednesday morning in New York that SWA’s proposed acquisition of AirTran Airways is on track to “close in the first half of 2011.”

Following the US Dept. of Justice’s second request Nov. 8, “we are working on fulfilling their information needs,” said Wright. She noted that SWA filed its S-4 Registration Statement with US Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 19. “Now what remains is to have the AirTran shareholders’ approval and receipt of DOJ and any other necessary clearances, plus the fulfillment of customary closing conditions,” Wright said.

After a record third-quarter net income of $195 million (excluding special items), Wright said that, assuming traffic and revenue trends continue, SWA expects “solid revenue improvement” in the fourth quarter. “We have strong December bookings and, excluding fuel and related taxes, we expect fourth-quarter 2010’s unit costs to increase, year-over-year, in the 6% range,” Wright said.

Looking to 2011, Wright said ASMs are forecast to be “up in the 8% range in the first quarter of 2011 and in the 5% range in the second quarter.”

(Linda Blachly - ATWOnline News)

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