Southwest Airlines Co. AirTran unit will cease flying to five airports including Miami International and Washington’s Dulles next year because of rising fuel costs and sluggish demand.
AirTran service will be halted June 3 at the airports, which also include McGhee Tyson in Knoxville, Tennessee; Yeager in Charleston, West Virginia; and the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington. AirTran has about 40 employees in the affected cities, and will offer them jobs elsewhere, Southwest said today in a statement.
Southwest, which bought AirTran for $1 billion in May, will continue flying to Dulles airport with its own aircraft. The Dallas-based company is making changes to AirTran’s network to cut costs and create more point-to-point flights to bigger cities to complement its route system.
AirTran had started pruning its network to drop smaller unprofitable cities such as Asheville, North Carolina, because of lack of demand before the Southwest purchase was completed.