Southwest to order larger planes
Southwest Airlines will order 20 new, larger versions of the Boeing 737 that could pave the way for the all-domestic airline to offer international flights.
CEO Gary Kelly said Wednesday that Southwest will change an existing order with Boeing to get new 737-800 jets beginning in early 2012.
The 737-800s have 38 more seats than the largest planes in Southwest's current fleet.
The airline plans to add international service when it completes the purchase of AirTran Airways, which flies to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Kelly says the new plane could be used to fly to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Southwest Airlines announced earlier this fall that it would buy AirTran in a $1.4 billion merger. The deal would position Southwest to become the Washington area's dominant airline, with 31.5 percent of the region's air travel.
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