By Jean Ross

ATLANTA (AP) – It’s official! Southwest Airlines has launched its service in Atlanta after years of eyeing the area.     The Dallas-based discounter began its first flights from Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday.

The airline has had its sights on this area for years, but the expansion came only through its buyout of AirTran Airways, which based much of its operations in Atlanta.      The airline is beginning 15 daily flights from Atlanta with routes to Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver and Houston.

For now, AirTran will continue with about 170 daily flights from Atlanta. But Southwest will begin gradually absorbing the airline’s jets into its own fleet.


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