AirTran Airways will pull out of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport in August, one of six small markets its new parent company, Southwest Airlines, will cut as it merges the two. The dropped cities are smaller than typical Southwest markets, the Associated Press reported. Southwest said it couldn't afford to serve such markets with today's high jet fuel prices. Southwest, the largest carrier at Tampa International Airport, will keep flying to 22 cities served by AirTran. The decision to drop Sarasota raises the final cut list to 15 AirTran locations since Southwest acquired the discount carrier in September 2010, the AP reports. Sarasota will lose direct flights to Chicago, Baltimore and Milwaukee. AirTran is the airport's second-biggest carrier behind Delta, accounting for 26 percent of the airport's 1.37 million passengers last year, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported. The airport hopes to persuade other airlines, including Delta, to expand service to the cities Southwest will drop Aug. 12.
AirTran pulling out of Sarasota airport
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