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Southwest and AirTran Merger Moves Forward

Overwhelming majority of voters approve acquisition

April 6, 2011

© Houston Airport System
The proposed merger has received overwhelming support from shareholders.
In addition to infrastructure upgrades and enhancements at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), customers should be excited about new possibilities from the potential merger of two Hobby airlines: Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways.

AirTran shareholders recently approved the proposed acquisition from Southwest Airlines. More than 98.6 percent of votes cast and 77.5 percent of shares outstanding were voted in favor of the acquisition.

The proposed acquisition of AirTran by Southwest Airlines is a welcomed change at Hobby Airport.

“This merger will strengthen Southwest Airlines' market position and increase their domestic network,” Ian Wadsworth, Houston Airport System chief commercial officer. “That is a good thing for Houston travelers. We look forward to Southwest's continued growth at Hobby Airport, which is a very important hub in the Southwest network."

Although the transaction is anticipated to close in the second quarter of 2011, it remains under review by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and is subject to other regulatory clearances.  Southwest and AirTran will continue to operate as two independent companies pending those clearances.

“We appreciate the confidence AirTran shareholders have in Southwest to continue the good work of AirTran's hardworking employees who have made AirTran a successful airline over the past 17 years," said Gary Kelly, Chairman, CEO, and President of Southwest Airlines. "This approval is another important and exciting step toward completing the transaction and beginning the integration of AirTran into Southwest to ultimately serve the flying public as one carrier."

"We are grateful for our stockholders' strong vote of confidence in this merger," said Bob Fornaro, AirTran's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "In approving the transaction, our stockholders recognized the value of bringing together AirTran and Southwest to create a platform for increased profitability and sustainable long-term value."

On September 27, 2010, Southwest Airlines announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of AirTran Holdings, Inc., for a combination of cash and Southwest Airlines' common stock.

For more information on the proposed merger, visit
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