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Fri, Mar 25, 2011

AirTran Stockholders Approve Merger With Southwest

Deal Currently Expected To Close In Second Quarter of 2011

Stockholders in AirTran Holdings have voted overwhelmingly to approve the merger of a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines with and into AirTran at a special meeting held Wednesday in Orlando, FL.  More than 98.6 percent of the votes cast and 77.5 percent of shares outstanding were voted in favor of the transaction.

"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."

AirTran and Southwest announced the proposed merger on September 27, 2010.  The companies are awaiting clearance on the proposed merger from the United States Department of Justice.  The merger is currently expected to close by during the second quarter of 2011. The transaction remains under review by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and is subject to certain other regulatory clearances. Southwest and AirTran continue to operate as two independent companies pending those clearances. Southwest anticipates the transaction to close in the second quarter of this year. Until the acquisition is approved and finalized, both carriers will continue to operate independently.

"We appreciate the confidence AirTran shareholders have in Southwest to continue the good work of AirTran's hardworking Crew Members (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."

The merger wasn't the only news involving Southwest Wednesday. Stock clerks at Southwest Airlines ratified a new, five-year agreement with the company, Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. "This is a prime example of Teamster power in the airline industry," Bourne said. "Our members have ratified a contract that enhances quality of life and offers peace of mind."

Sixty percent of the work group voted in favor of the contract. 

FMI: www.airtran.com, www.southwest.com

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