AirTran will increase its capacity significantly at Baltimore/Washington Airport and even more so in Milwaukee.The airline’s executives see a big opportunity because of cutbacks implemented by Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines.
“Our big focus is going to be in Milwaukee,” Bob Fornaro, AirTran’s chairman, president and CEO, said during a conference call with stock analysts this week.
AirTran cut capacity in the fourth quarter of last year, sold or rescheduled 46 of its aircraft and changed its fuel hedging program. Add those cost cutting moves to the dramatic decline in fuel costs and record-high revenue and AirTran executives are confident in a first quarter and full-year profit in 2009 if fuel prices stay as low as projected.
AirTran sees room for expansion in Milwaukee, where it now operates about 20 daily departures. At Baltimore/Washington (BWI), AirTran is growing more in 2009 even as the other carriers there cut back. Overall capacity at BWI is down, but AirTran’s is up 16%.