The recession hit the airline industry hard as travelers continue to look else where for transportation. Five of the nine largest United States airlines all have shown significant losses the past few years totaling as much as $6 billion since 2009. As fuel continues to rise and the economy shows no signs of improvement conditions look like they will get worse for airlines before they get better.
Many airlines have either shut down or been bought off. Popular Southwest Airlines is trying to make the best in a bad situation. The company made a smart move one year ago by purchasing the then ailing AirTran Airways for $1 billion. The idea behind the purchase was to integrate a lot of AirTran’s passenger traffic and help Southwest compete for high-fare business travelers.
For the past twelve months, Southwest has worked hard to integrate AirTran’s reservations centers with its own. This week, the airline announced it has plans to shut down two of AirTran’s reservation centers located in Carrollton and Savannah. By closing those two centers, Southwest is able to combine resources and offer a much larger call center in Atlanta.
“The decision to consolidate these three centers is one more step towards the integration of Southwest and AirTran. Our new Atlanta Call Center honors AirTran’s history while casting a future vision for call center operations at Southwest,” said Southwest Airlines vice president of Customer Support and Services, Jack Smith. “Our customer support and services employees are an important touch point for our customers, and we look forward to continuing this dedication to customer service in our expanded Atlanta Call Center as well as our other six Southwest Airlines CS&S centers.”
Southwest added that the decision to close two call centers is not a sign of trouble, saying it’s only being done to make the company run more efficiently. To prove its point, the almost 300 employees that work at the call centers shutting down were all offered a position in the new Atlanta office. The new call center will open in its new location in May 2013.
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