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Southwest Slashes AirTran Route Map

Southwest Airlines has cut six gateways from AirTran Airways’ route map. In a press release issued Friday, the airline announced that AirTran will serve 22 gateways in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean. However, AirTran will no longer operate in the following cities: Allentown, PA; Lexington, KY; Harrisburg, PA; Huntsville, AL; Sarasota, FL; and White Plains, NY. Service will cease August 11.

As is to be expected, not everyone is happy about these new changes—especially those who work at or fly from the aforementioned gateways.

USA Today published an email sent out from representatives at Harrisburg International Airport, which hinted at some hope that another airline will step in to fill the void: “Since the service begin in November 2008, more than 250,000 people have flown between Harrisburg and Orlando at affordable fares. … Fortunately, we have some time before the service ends to reach out to other airlines who might have an interest in serving this route.”

This isn’t the first instance where Southwest has curtailed AirTran’s service. Other gateways have fallen off the AirTran route map since Southwest acquired the airline in 2010—including Central Illinois Regional Airport, which, in a fortunate turn of events, got its curtailed service back. Earlier this week, Allegiant added a new route between Bloomington and Orlando/Sanford, after Southwest had pulled AirTran’s flights between the gateways.

Why the cuts? According to AirTran President Bob Jordan, “The airline industry continues to face many challenges, including significantly higher fuel costs.”

Will you be affected by AirTran’s route reductions? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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