There was a brief write-up in the Airport Report Express on December 15, 1993 when it was first announced that Southwest planned to purchase Morris Air. Note the last paragraph as to the reason June Morris wanted to sell the company.
SOUTHWEST TO PURCHASE MORRIS AIR
Southwest Airlines said it will acquire look-alike carrier Morris Air, based in Salt Lake City, in a stock swap valued at $129 million. The transaction will extend Southwest's system into the Pacific Northwest, where Morris serves Seattle, Portland, Ore., and 20 other destinations.
According to an announcement from Southwest, the share exchange transaction will close on Dec. 31, subject to receipt of Justice Department approval and fulfillment of other unspecified conditions. Morris began scheduled operations in 1993 after operating as a charter-only carrier for eight years.
Herb Kelleher, chairman of Southwest, said the linkage of the two airline systems, which do not compete, will provide "more low fare competition, more quickly, to a greater area of our country and to more American consumers. Since our low fare and entrepreneurial philosophies and policies are identical; our methods of operation are very similar; and we fly the same type of aircraft, the 737-300, I am convinced that the transitional integration of Morris Air into Southwest over a period of several years will be substantially eased and facilitated. In addition, the great majority of permanent Morris employees will be offered employment at Southwest, and Southwest will continue to maintain an operating presence and reservations center in Salt Lake City. Finally, based upon the anticipated 1993 and projected 1994 profits of Morris Air, its acquisition is not anticipated to dilute, but, instead, to augment, the earnings per share of Southwest." Kelleher also said that to the extent the nation's mega-carriers plan to launch low-fare, short-haul operations, the purchase of Morris Air "represents an effective response" by Southwest.
In a comparison of the two airlines provided by Southwest, Morris had 1992 net income of $5.3 million and has a fleet of 21 737 jets. Service similarities between the two carriers were listed as: comparable low fares, low costs; no assigned seating; both use plastic boarding cards; neither serve meals; both have all 737 fleet, and offer point-to-point service.
June Morris, founder of Morris Air, said she approached Southwest to purchase her carrier due to a combination of "personal concerns and future business concerns." According to published reports, Morris was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and said she wanted more leisure time to spend with her husband.
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