Some U.S. airlines may be struggling with rising fuel costs and the economic recession, but not AirTran Airways. The airline is having "one of the best years in the company's history," CFO Arne Haak is quoted as saying today by The Associated Press. Haak was speaking at the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch Global Transportation Conference in New York.
Haak said "in recent weeks, (AirTran has) seen (passenger-booking) volumes come back, but we are in an environment where there are a lot of sale fares." AP writes "AirTran has benefited from its very low cost structure." Haak said AirTran's costs are nearly half of what (rival) Delta's are.
Haak also addressed Southwest's planned expansion into Milwaukee, saying that he didn't expect that to alter AirTran's efforts to build up its operations there. However, he did say Southwest's presence in Milwaukee could spur demand, possibly increasing passenger volume but also decreasing the average fare paid by passengers there.
AirTran operates the youngest all Boeing fleet, B717s and B737s, in the nation to more than 56 cities coast-to-coast with more than 700 flights per day and over 9,000 Crew Members serving nearly 20 million passengers per year.