Southwest Airlines’ purchase of AirTran to close in 2Q2011

Southwest Airlines stated on Friday that its planned USD1.4 billion acquisition of AirTran Airways is expected to receive Justice Department approval in 2Q2011. The airline had previously stated the agreement was likely to close in the first half.

Meanwhile Soleil Securities upgraded Southwest from “hold” to “buy”, with a price target of USD15. The airline’s shares rose 2.3% on Friday to close at USD12.93 per share.

AirTran’s shares gained 0.8%, while Allegiant rose 0.3% and JetBlue declined 1.6%.

Selected LCCs daily share price movements (% change): 17-Dec-2010