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AirTran’s Final Flight Scheduled For December

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AirTran Airways airplanes are seen on the tarmac at the airport. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

AirTran Airways airplanes are seen on the tarmac at the airport. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Another name in aviation history will disappear after the final flight of AirTran Airways, which is scheduled for December 28.

The Atlanta-to-Tampa, Florida, trip has been designated AirTran Flight 1 and will retrace the route taken by a predecessor airline’s first flight in October 1993.

Then it was known as ValuJet Airlines, a fast-growing, low-cost carrier that flew mostly in the eastern U.S. The airline changed its name through a merger after a 1996 crash in the Everglades that killed all 110 people on board. Investigators blamed the crash shortly after takeoff from Miami on a fire that started with improperly handled oxygen generators in the cargo hold.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. bought AirTran in 2011 for $1.4 billion and announced plans to combine the fleets under the Southwest brand. It is repainting AirTran’s Boeing 737 jets and selling the smaller Boeing 717 planes to Delta Air Lines Inc. A Southwest spokesman said Thursday that there are still a few employees who started at ValuJet.

Southwest does not currently fly beyond the United States, but starting in July it will take over AirTran service to several destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. Meanwhile, it is shuttering service at some of AirTran’s smaller destinations in the U.S.

In North Texas, AirTran currently operates out of Dallas Love Field Airport.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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