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UPDATE 5:27 PM 8/12/12: Akron/Canton Airport is now a Southwest Airlines destination.
"CAK" has a long history with AirTran, which is now a part of Southwest, but the first Southwest-branded planes started flying into the airport in Green on Sunday.
A non-passenger flight Saturday was greeted by a tarmac party at the airport.
Southwest will run two round-trips between Akron/Canton and Chicago Midway airport, and takes over a round-trip between the local airport and Denver.
AirTran's flights continue at Akron/Canton, though eventually everything will be under the Southwest name.
Southwest continues its flight schedule out of Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
Southwest Airlines has landed at Akron-Canton Airport.
The airport welcomed a special flight from Chicago Saturday afternoon, that landed at about 2:30.
Akron-Canton Airport was holding a tarmac party to welcome the flight, which was not carrying fare paying passengers.
Southwest passenger service between CAK and two airports, Chicago Midway and Denver, will begin officially on Sunday.
AirTran, now a subsidiary of Southwest, will continue its regular passenger schedule out of the airport on the Summit/Stark County border.
Southwest Airlines also continues flights out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
Akron-Canton Airport getting a little bigger around the waist.
Frontier Airlines starting to use bigger jets -- the Airbus 320 is the largest in it's fleet. Frontier has two daily flights from CAK to Denver International. The jets can carry 168 passengers and will be the biggest craft operating at Akron-Canton Airport.
AirTran is also opening service from Akron-Canton to Denver with a daily flight starting June 3. Southwest will take over the route from the merger of the two airlines in August.
(Akron-Canton Airport) Planning to climb a fourteener this summer? If so, head to Denver or out west from Akron-Canton Airport (CAK). Starting today, Friday, May 18, 2012, Frontier Airlines will upgrade their two daily flights from CAK to/from Denver to the Airbus 320, the largest jet in their fleet, seen in the photo from AviationExplorer.com. These spacious 168 seat jets are the biggest airplanes landing at CAK this summer. Additionally, AirTran Airways will begin service to Denver with one daily nonstop flight on June 3, 2012 aboard the Boeing 717. The AirTran flight departs CAK at 12:29 p.m. and departs Denver at 2:25 p.m. Both airlines offer everyday affordable fares.
“We are eager to welcome more westbound travelers to CAK this summer,” said Rick McQueen, president and CEO. “With exceptional service and low fares offered by Frontier and AirTran, Customers flying to the mile-high city and beyond will begin their adventure off right. These new flights help make Akron-Canton Airport a better way to go out west.”
Akron-Canton Airport President Rick McQueen says CAK has saved local travelers nearly a billion dollars over the past 15 years.
1997 marked the start of AirTran's service as a low-cost alternative anchor, in a speech McQueen delivered to the Akron Roundtable. The financial impact numbers come from a study commissioned by the airport from travel consultant Ailevon Air Service Consulting.
McQueen says in 2011 alone AirTran saved air consumers $70 million, and western-based Frontier added another $20 million. He says savings since CAK started AirTran service totaled more than $958 million dollars for travelers using Akron-Canton Airport.
Average fares, he says, remain 10 percent below the national average and lowest in the five-state region including Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Kentucky. Those states are critical with airline hubs for Delta located in the greater Cincinnati area and Detroit and U.S. Air operations in Pittsburgh.
McQueen doesn't trumpet the savings as active competition to Cleveland Hopkins, which still carries more passengers, but as a low fare compliment which is good for the region. He says keeping prices lower at CAK will continue with Southwest's commitment to expand with new routes to Chicago's Midway Airport and Denver.
Planes from Akron-Canton Airport will soon be headed to Chicago Midway airport.
AirTran has announced two roundtrip flights between the two airports starting on August 12th.
AirTran's parent company is Southwest Airlines, and Southwest recently named Akron-Canton as one of 22 destinations that'll be kept in the Southwest network.
AirTran will actually be the second airline to serve Chicago from Akron-Canton. United Express has one daily departure to Chicago O'Hare.
Southwest Airlines made it official Friday - Akron/Canton Airport is one of 22 AirTran destinations announced Friday, that'll stay a part of the Southwest network.
Akron/Canton Airport Spokesperson Kristie Van Auken...Southwest Stays by MPWard
Southwest Airlines - news release
Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways Confirm Plans to Maintain AirTran Airways Operations at 22 Domestic and International Airports
Seattle to Become First Jointly Served Airport to Fully Combine Operations into Southwest
DALLAS, Jan. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Southwest Airlines and its wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways confirmed today the intent to convert AirTran Airways operations at 22 domestic and international airports to Southwest operations over time.
The 22 AirTran airports that will continue to operate and will eventually join the Southwest route map include: Flint, Mich. (FNT); Rochester, N.Y. (ROC); Pensacola, Fla. (PNS); Charlotte, N.C. (CLT); Dayton, Ohio (DAY); Richmond, Va. (RIC); Key West, Fla. (EYW); Washington, D.C. (DCA); Memphis, Tenn. (MEM); Akron-Canton, Ohio (CAK); Wichita, Kan. (ICT); Des Moines, Iowa (DSM); Branson, Mo. (BKG); Portland, Maine (PWM); Grand Rapids, Mich. (GRR); Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ); Cancun, Mexico (CUN); Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ); Aruba (AUA); San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU); Bermuda (BDA); and Nassau, Bahamas (NAS). AirTran service and Employees at these airports are planned to convert to Southwest gradually over the course of AirTran's integration into Southwest. The airlines earlier announced that AirTran will begin serving Mexico City, Mexico (MEX) on May 24, 2012, and San Jose Cabo, Mexico (SJD) on June 3, 2012. Those destinations also will convert to Southwest over time. Of the 69 cities AirTran served when Southwest acquired it on May 2, 2011, 53 cities are planned to convert to full Southwest Airlines service.
"We are committed to continuing to serve these communities--at first via AirTran, and eventually as Southwest. We know there are Southwest Customers who want access to these cities, but have never before had the opportunity, and the markets have long desired Southwest service," said Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer and AirTran Airways President Bob Jordan. "We are excited about the cities we have chosen to keep in our combined network. At the same time, there are some markets that we simply cannot make work in the current fuel environment, so we've had to make the decision to discontinue service in those locations."
Effective Aug. 12, 2012, AirTran Airways will cease operations at the following airports: Allentown, Pa. (ABE); Lexington, Ky. (LEX); Harrisburg, Pa. (MDT); Sarasota, Fla. (SRQ); Huntsville, Ala. (HSV); and White Plains, N.Y. (HPN). AirTran currently operates six daily nonstop flights at Sarasota with 16 Employees. Its Allentown (one daily nonstop flight), Lexington (two daily nonstop flights), Harrisburg (one daily nonstop flight), Huntsville (two daily nonstop flights), and White Plains (three daily nonstop flights) operations are all supported by AirTran's contracted vendor partners.
AirTran Airways will continue to operate at Allentown, Lexington, Harrisburg, Sarasota, Huntsville, and White Plains through Aug. 11, 2012. Ticketed passengers, passengers holding reservations, or passengers desiring to make reservations for flights to or from these airports, have no need to alter their travel plans prior to Aug. 12, 2012.
Both Southwest's and AirTran's priority is to take excellent care of the dedicated Employees, partners, and Customers in these six locations. AirTran Employees at these locations have performed superbly and will have the opportunity to move elsewhere within AirTran, after operations cease on Aug. 12, 2012.
"The airline industry continues to face many challenges, including significantly higher fuel costs," Jordan said. "We must do everything we can to operate efficiently and profitably, align service with Customer demand, and deliver the legendary Customer Service for which both airlines are known."
As of Aug. 12, 2012, Southwest will offer 41 flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), becoming the first jointly served airport to fully convert to Southwest Airlines service. AirTran currently serves the market with one daily flight from SEA to Milwaukee (MKE) and seasonal service to both Atlanta (ATL) and Baltimore/Washington (BWI). Southwest will maintain the MKE, ATL, and BWI routes with direct and connecting service. Southwest and AirTran will announce future jointly served airport conversions as those specific plans are lined up.
Today's announcements will be incorporated into both Southwest's and AirTran's flight schedules that will publish on Jan. 22, 2012, for travel beginning Aug. 12, 2012.
Add another feather to the AirTran/Southwest flight schedule from Akron-Canton Airport.
The airline will begin once-daily direct flights from CAK to Denver International Airport May 24, 2012. The announcement was part of an expanded flight schedule involving other cities and airports as well as Akron-Canton.
News release: Southwest/AirTran Airlines
Southwest Airlines and its wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways announced today new destinations and nonstop routes as they extend their flight schedules for reservations from June 3, 2012, through Aug. 10, 2012 (some flights begin as early as May 24, 2012). Southwest announced new Houston nonstop service and AirTran will add nonstop service between Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood and San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as new Denver nonstop routes.
In addition, AirTran announced plans to expand its international presence with four new nonstop routes to Mexico: San Antonio to Cancun and Mexico City beginning May 2012, and Orange County, Calif. to Cabo San Lucas and Mexico City beginning June 2012. This service is subject to government approval and is not yet for sale. Specific frequencies and fares for these international routes will be announced once the appropriate approvals are received. AirTran does not currently serve Orange County, so the future introduction of AirTran service to these markets is a direct benefit of Southwest's acquisition of AirTran.
To celebrate AirTran's Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood to San Juan service, the carriers launched a fare sale today with fares as low as $69 one-way. Customers must book travel by Nov. 27, 2011, in order to take advantage of these low fares (see Additional Fare Rules below). To book flights, visit: www.southwest.com or www.airtran.com .
A quick view of the new service is listed below.
AirTran new service beginning May 24, 2012 (open for sale today):
Two daily roundtrip flights between Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood and San Juan
AirTran new service beginning June 3, 2012 (open for sale today):
One daily roundtrip flight between Denver and Akron-Canton
One daily roundtrip flight between Denver and Dayton
Two daily roundtrip flights between Denver and New York LaGuardia
Two daily roundtrip flights between Baltimore/Washington and Los Angeles
One daily roundtrip flight between Baltimore/Washington and New Orleans
Two daily roundtrip flights between Baltimore/Washington and Seattle
One daily roundtrip flight between Baltimore/Washington and San Francisco
Southwest new service beginning June 3, 2012 (open for sale today):
One daily roundtrip flight between Houston Hobby and Raleigh-Durham
One daily roundtrip flight between Houston Hobby and Kansas City
One daily roundtrip flight between Houston Hobby and Seattle
One daily roundtrip flight between Chicago Midway and Oklahoma City
"We have been very encouraged by the success of AirTran's existing international service and we look forward to building upon that success," said Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer and AirTran Airways President. "Today's announcement of AirTran's new domestic service and planned international service in several markets offers Customers even more options when traveling both in the U.S. and abroad, and is a terrific demonstration of the benefits Southwest's acquisition of AirTran brings Customers."
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