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Sun, Feb 08, 2009

AirTran CFO Sees Opportunity In Industry Downturn

Other Airlines' Cutbacks Leave Room For Expansion

Orlando-based AirTran has taken advantage of other airlines' cutbacks to selectively expand its routes, adding flights while cutting capacity and costs. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports AirTran Airways Chief Executive Bob Fornaro spoke at a Raymond James investor conference Thursday, revealing some of the company's strategy for surviving the recession.

"[There] is a lot of uncertainty out there, which I think is OK for us because that may create some opportunity as well," Fornaro said. "We can operate quite nicely in an environment that's got weak input prices such as oil and a weak revenue environment."

The airline has set its sights on expanding service to Milwaukee, picking up flights as competitor Midwest Airlines shrinks. Fornaro said that AirTran, "centered on Atlanta but ultimately a lot more diverse than we were four or five years ago," hopes to total over 30 departures daily from Milwaukee.

AirTran is cutting capacity by four percent this year, has tabled other growth plans for the next two years, and will continue to look for ways to cut costs during the recession.



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