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Old 10-30-2004, 07:50 AM   #1
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look out South west

AirTran Airways Agrees to Assume Chicago Midway Gates and Acquire Certain Other Assets of ATA Airlines
October 26, 2004 6:11:00 PM ET


ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. AAI, announced today that the airline has agreed, subject to certain conditions, to assume the Chicago Midway Airport gate leases and acquire certain other related assets including takeoff and landing slots at New York's LaGuardia and Washington's Ronald Reagan National airports of ATA Airlines, a unit of ATA Holdings Corp. ATAH, for approximately $87.5 million. ATA Holdings Corp., and certain of its subsidiaries, have filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Under the agreement with ATA Airlines, AirTran Airways would assume ATA's leases on up to 14 gates at Chicago's Midway Airport, 19 time-controlled take-off and landing slots at New York's LaGuardia Airport and 8 such slots at Washington's Reagan National Airport. The deal must receive various approvals, including approval of the Bankruptcy Court in ATA's Chapter 11 proceeding. In the interim, ATA Airlines is to continue operating flights and business as usual at Chicago's Midway Airport.

AirTran Airways plans to introduce its fuel efficient, all new Boeing fleet on the routes from Chicago Midway, and intends to enter into a marketing agreement with ATA Airlines which is currently contemplated to include a code-share, frequent traveler program and other programs to benefit both carriers' customers. In conjunction with the code-share arrangement, the carriers, also intend to enter into an agreement to outsource certain flying during the transition of service from ATA Airlines to AirTran Airways at Chicago's Midway Airport.

"This proposal offers a great opportunity for both AirTran Airways and the City of Chicago as well as significantly aiding ATA in its reorganization," said Joe Leonard, chairman and chief executive officer of AirTran Airways.

"Adding a hub in Chicago is an important strategic expansion for AirTran Airways' growing network," stated Robert L. Fornaro, president and chief operating officer. "A Midwest hub complements AirTran Airways' strong East Coast network and will capitalize on a number of synergies in the cities we serve across the country. This addition will give AirTran Airways a true national presence. We look forward to increasing our service for the Chicago business and leisure travelers."
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Old 11-10-2004, 09:10 AM   #2
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Truly Going National

This was inevitable as AirTran continues to steadily expand westward. They're trying to disburse their main hub in Atlanta into several mini-hubs including Atlanta, Baltimore, and Chicago. Look for them to seek opportunities to beef up their operations in Dallas as well, using that as their southwest mini-hub. Apologies to you left-coasters who don't consider Texas southwest, we've had this "midsouth" discussion before.

Hmmmm, flying brand new 737-800s with mini-hubs in Baltimore, Chicago, and Dallas? Sounds a little familiar. Personally, I like Southwest Airlines very much. JetBlue too. Song too, Delta may someday have to morph into Song entirely. Toss in Frontier and AmericaWest, and I can't wait for the day when all six major low-cost carriers blanket every remote corner of the entire country. Which they almost do already...

The intense competition will greatly improve the product. Airlines that aren't affordable, fun, safe, with all leather seating, satellite tv/radio at every seatback, and fleets of newer aircraft will most likely go the way of TWA, Pan Am, and Eastern. Or will have to concentrate more on international flights

Quote:
AirTran Plans To Go National
Southwest looms as big rival

By DAVE HIRSCHMAN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 10/27/04


AirTran's plan to build a new hub at Chicago's Midway Airport is aimed at
recasting the low-cost, Southeastern carrier as a national airline, company officials said Wednesday.

"This is a huge strategic move for us," AirTran Chief Executive Joe Leonard said. "We've been looking for a hub in the Midwest for some time, and Midway is the best hub we could possibly get."

AirTran announced late Tuesday that it has agreed to pay $87.5 million for gate leases at Midway and landing slots at New York's La Guardia and
Washington's Reagan National airports from ATA Airlines, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The move into Midway will put AirTran on a collision course with highly
successful Southwest Airlines, the biggest operator at the airport. Leonard
noted that AirTran competes against Southwest at Baltimore.

"Southwest absolutely dominates Baltimore, but we've found we can be very profitable there," he said. "All of the low-cost carriers are going to bump up against each other someplace."
It states that AirTran's move "into" Midway will put them head-to-head with Southwest, but AirTran already operates out of Midway. More like AirTran's "dramatic expansion" at Midway. AirTran already operates extensively out of LaGuardia and Reagan National as well, so those would simply be "additional" slots purchased from ATA
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Old 11-11-2004, 04:44 PM   #3
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Getting More and More Interesting

This is starting to get really exciting. And I'm not just talking about AirTran:

Quote:
Discounters set for fray
AirTran, foes eye new turf in Chicago

By DAVE HIRSCHMAN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/08/04


The battle for Midway Airport is shaping up as a dogfight among the nation's top discount airlines.

Southwest, America West and AirTran all have expressed keen interest in taking over bankrupt ATA's 14 gates at Midway. And an as-yet-unnamed bankruptcy judge in ATA's hometown of Indianapolis will likely decide among the competing carriers.

Industry observers have long theorized that expanding low-cost carriers eventually would have to confront each other as the larger legacy carriers they prefer to compete against pull back. Now, that contest is beginning to take shape in Chicago.

"All of the low-cost carriers are bound to bump up against each other somewhere," AirTran Chief Executive Joe Leonard said in a recent conference call with analysts.

Southwest has long been the dominant carrier at Midway. But AirTran, which has its major hub in Atlanta, is moving aggressively to establish its own Midwest hub there. AirTran signed an $87 million deal to lease ATA aircraft and crews and acquire ATA gates and slots at Midway, New York's La Guardia and Washington's Reagan National airports. AirTran and ATA announced their deal in late October at the same time ATA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection.

Midway is desirable because:

It's in Chicago one of the nation's largest travel centers.

It's not gridlocked like Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

It's unlikely to face new competition since O'Hare can't expand and there's no more space to build another close-in Chicago airport.

AirTran plans to make Chicago the launching pad for its national expansion.
The rest of the story:
http://www.ajc.com/business/content/.../09midway.html
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Old 11-14-2004, 07:17 PM   #4
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The airline industry is getting really exciting! I can't wait to see the out come of the "Battle for Midway" (no...not island)!

I have said before that I believe Delta's plans were to completely morph into Song....so if it happens I CALLED IT!

Also..i look forward to seeing Primaris Airlines http://www.primarisairlines.com, Sky Express Airways http://www.skyexpress.us, and Riviera Jet http://www.rivierajet.com (transatlantic jetBlue)...my my my...so many new airlines in so very little time!

- John
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Old 11-30-2004, 02:55 PM   #5
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NEW flights out of MDW

Flights to Five New Destinations to Begin January 11, 2005 -

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. AAI, announced today that the airline will add seven new daily nonstop flights from Chicago's Midway Airport to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Sarasota/Bradenton and Tampa. The new service is effective January 11, 2005.

"We see a great opportunity to bring our low-cost service to these new routes and help Chicago-area travelers find affordable air fares to their favorite vacation and business destinations," said Bob Fornaro, AirTran Airways' president and chief operating officer. "This new service demonstrates AirTran Airways' commitment to the Chicago market, and our service to the new and convenient Chicago Midway Airport will make getting to and from Chicago even easier. While this is our initial expansion in Chicago, we hope it represents the beginning of our partnership with ATA Airlines," he added. Although the larger deal previously announced with ATA Airlines is subject to approval by the City of Chicago among others, these new flights are independent of the ATA transaction and will operate as scheduled.

AirTran Airways currently operates eight daily roundtrip flights to the airline's hub in Atlanta. This new service includes one flight to Fort Lauderdale, two flights to Fort Myers, two flights to Orlando, one flight to Sarasota/Bradenton and one flight to Tampa.
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Old 12-10-2004, 01:04 PM   #6
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America West Backs Down

One down, a couple more to go
Quote:
AmWest Passes Up Bid to Buy ATA Assets


Source: Comtex News Network (AP Online - Comtex)


America West Airlines backed away Thursday from a potential bidding war for bankrupt ATA Airlines, paving the way for AirTran to take over ATA operations.

The announcement came the night before ATA Airlines Inc. was to submit plans for restructuring under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

"While we believe there is some value in a combined America West/ATA operation, we do not believe the potential value justifies the anticipated cost," America West Holdings Corp. chairman and chief executive Doug Parker said in a statement.

America West spokesman Carlos Bertolini said the bid fell apart because the airlines couldn't come up with acceptable lease terms on enough of ATA's aircraft to make the deal worthwhile.

ATA, in a statement, said "America West worked hard in their efforts to prepare a competitive bid in the upcoming auction. We look forward to receiving competitive proposals from other qualified bidders on Friday."

Tempe-based America West is coming off it's first quarterly loss in more than a year and has reduced its outlook for 2005. It reported a third-quarter loss of $47.1 million.

AirTran Airways Inc. agreed to pay nearly $90 million to take over ATA's flight operations, 14 gate leases and routes at Chicago Midway Airport, as well as arrival and departure slots at New York's LaGuardia Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

The proposed deal and any other restructuring of ATA still needs approval from creditors and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis-based ATA has 7,900 employees, including 2,500 in Indianapolis. AirTran, a unit of Orlando-based AirTran Holdings Inc., operates its largest hub in Atlanta.
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Old 12-10-2004, 01:11 PM   #7
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Now the Gloves are Off

WOW, this is gonna be fun to watch!

Quote:
AirTran Airways: Southwest Airlines' Bid for ATA Is 'Clever Trick'


Source: Comtex News Network (PR Newswire via Comtex)


AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AAI), today called the Southwest Airlines' bid for ATA Airlines' assets a "clever trick" to eliminate competition at Chicago Midway's Airport.

With direct lease of 25 of the 43 gates at Midway and a marketing arrangement over the use of ATA's remaining eight gates, Southwest Airlines would effectively control 80 percent of Midway Airport. Even if ATA Airlines were to eventually fail or sell rights to its eight gates, the deal with Southwest Airlines would shut out the potential for another hub carrier to operate there.

AirTran Airways has an agreement with ATA to acquire all 14 of ATA's Midway gates and use of some slots at Washington's Reagan National Airport and New York's LaGuardia Airport for $90 million in cash, plus a code share arrangement for its entire system that is valued at well over an additional $100 million.

"Southwest Airlines' bid is nothing more than a clever trick to gain a stranglehold at Chicago's Midway Airport," said Kevin Healy, AirTran Airways' vice president of planning and sales for the airline. "Southwest's proposal is not in the best interests of the city of Chicago. As the second largest aviation market in the country, Chicago has a unique situation with two principal airlines at each airport -- United and American at O'Hare and Southwest and ATA at Midway. Southwest's proposal destroys this balance and creates a monopoly at Midway."

AirTran Airways believes its bid is superior to Southwest Airlines' bid for the following reasons: * Southwest Airlines' bid will raise additional concerns at the Department of Justice as it will directly control 25 of the 43 gates at Chicago Midway Airport -- thereby shutting out the possibility of another carrier operating a hub in Chicago. * Southwest Airlines' bid will give the airline a stranglehold at Midway. * Southwest Airlines has the ability to add up to 50 flights from Chicago on its current 19 gates -- the airline doesn't need more gates to grow. * Southwest Airlines has no experience with code share operations whereas AirTran Airways has entered into several code share arrangements over the past few years. * Southwest Airlines' proposed code share with ATA appears to be a one-sided code share, thus giving Southwest even more control over destinations served from Midway.
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Old 12-22-2004, 11:41 AM   #8
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Knock Yourself Out

WHOOOO, too rich for AirTran! Who could beat this offer: Southwest just outbid AirTran for ATA's Midway operation by nearly $30 million ($89mil vs. $117mil). For eight fewer gates than the AirTran deal, mind you.

I seem to remember AirTran being the only party to show up at the table earlier this year when ATA asked for help. Oh well, if there's gonna be a monopoly in Chicago I guess Southwest is a better choice than some. Heaven forbid the courts allow more competition

This is going to be exciting to watch over the next five years or so...
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