Merger May Bring Southwest To Burlington

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(Host) Officials at Burlington International Airport say they’re hopeful that a new merger in the airline industry could help them.

Southwest and AirTran announced plans to combine their airlines earlier this week.

Burlington is one of 33 cities in the country that are served by AirTran but without service by Southwest.

Burlington Airport Director Brian Searles says AirTran still has a counter and pays rent, but the airline stopped service because of an aircraft shortage.

(Searles) "They’re status is categorized as seasonal, at our airport. However, they’ve been gone 13 months. So we know that’s it’s really about the number of seats available in their system, particularly beyond Baltimore, which is where our flights were going. Most of our passengers to Baltimore were connecting. Southwest has a big presence there. So I’m thinking that this combination of the two systems will be good for small airports generally, and we’re hoping that  it will be good for us, but we just don’t know."

(Host) Searles says Burlington has had annual talks with Southwest about bringing service to Vermont.

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