AirTran Airways Continues Major Expansion in Orlando
-Hometown Airline Announces New Pilot Base at Unveiling of State-of-the-Art Operations Center-
-State and Local Officials Join Airline in Celebrating Milestones-
AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AAI), today unveiled its new System Operations Control (SOC) Center. At the unveiling, AirTran Airways Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Bob Fornaro also announced plans to open a pilot base in the airline's hometown this fall.
"Today's expansion is exciting news for the entire state, and I am grateful to AirTran Airways for utilizing the talented aerospace and aviation community that exists in Florida," said Governor Charlie Crist. "The Sunshine State is a global leader in air passenger transportation, and I look forward to greater economic successes and growth as a result of this job-creating expansion."
The base will initially employ 100 pilots, including a chief pilot. Orlando will join Atlanta and Milwaukee as domiciles for AirTran Airways pilots.
The $6.9 million SOC was paid for by a combination of funds from the state of Florida, the city of Orlando, including the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, and AirTran Airways. The facility is hurricane hardened, built to withstand 150-mile-per-hour winds, contains redundant communications systems, scalability for future growth and features a backup generator capable of powering the facility indefinitely.
"Today is a historic day for AirTran Airways. The opening of our new SOC and announcement of an Orlando pilot base are both significant signs of our plans to continue to grow here in our hometown," said Fornaro. "We are fortunate to be part of the fabric of Central Florida and look forward to continuing to increase our presence here both today and well into the future."
AirTran Airways currently offers nonstop flights from 47 cities around the nation and the Caribbean to the world's most popular tourist destination, more than any other airline. The company employs more than 1,000 Crew Members in Central Florida at several facilities, including its corporate headquarters, the SOC and a maintenance facility in addition to its passengers operations at the airport.
"It is important for our community to continue to invest in our large corporate headquarters which help to diversify our economy and create jobs during a challenging economic climate," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "The City of Orlando and Greater Orlando Aviation Authority are extremely proud of AirTran Airways, Orlando's hometown airline, for their role in shaping our community's great future."
AirTran Airways is also very involved in the Central Florida community. In addition to partnering with the Orlando Magic and the Amway Arena as an official "Champion of the Community" partner, the airline also supports several other local charities including: the Parramore Kidz Zone, Make-A-Wish, Junior Achievement, Shepherd's Hope, Desire Street Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, the March of Dimes, Sunshine Foundation, Toys for Tots and the Dwight Howard Foundation, among others.
"We firmly believe we have an obligation to be involved in the communities we serve - especially in our hometown," said Fornaro. "It's the right thing to do."
AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AAI) and a Fortune 1000 company, has been ranked the number one low cost carrier in the Airline Quality Rating study for the past three years. AirTran Airways is the only major airline with Gogo Inflight Internet on every flight and offers coast-to-coast service on North America's newest all-Boeing fleet. Our low-cost, high-quality product also includes assigned seating, Business Class and complimentary XM Satellite Radio on every flight. To book a flight, visit: www.airtran.com.
Media Contacts: AirTran Airways Christopher White Cynthia Tinsley-Douglas 678.254.7442
SOURCE AirTran Airways