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AirTran shareholders approve Southwest merger
March 23, 2011 / 3:40 PM / in 7 years

AirTran shareholders approve Southwest merger

<p>An AirTran airlines jet (C) taxis past two Southwest jets sitting at their gates at Midway International airport in Chicago September 27, 2010. REUTERS/Frank Polich</p>

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Discount carrier AirTran Holdings AAI.N said shareholders had approved its pending acquisition by larger rival Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) at a special meeting on Wednesday.

More than 98.6 percent of votes cast and 77.5 percent of outstanding shares backed the purchase, AirTran said. The deal was announced in September and is expected to close during the second quarter, pending clearance from the U.S. Justice Department.

Dallas-based Southwest, the traditional low-fare leader, stands to grow in big U.S. East Coast markets such as Atlanta and Washington should the acquisition be completed.

Shares of Southwest edged up 0.7 percent to $12.41 in late morning trading, while AirTran was flat at $7.32.

Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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