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Sep 27, 2010 9:15 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Southwest Airlines to buy AirTran for $1.4B

Southwest Airlines is buying AirTran for about $1.4 billion as it seeks entry into a number of smaller markets. The announcement comes about a week after Continental Airlines and UAL Corp. combined.

The companies said Monday that the new Southwest-Airtran operation would operate from more than 100 different airports and serve more than 100 million customers.

The deal is worth approximately $3.4 billion including AirTran's debt.

Southwest Airlines gets more exposure to existing markets like New York and Boston and it can get into smaller markets it doesn't already serve.

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