It looks like Sept. 11 accelerated a trend some of us have been predicting for a long time: lower-cost low-fare carriers moving in to take over routes previously dominated by Cartel carriers with their "house of cards" cost structures or their low-fare affiliates which still have high costs.
It's encouraging to see that AirTran recognizes that medium-size cities mistreated and abandoned by the Cartel are a major long-term financial growth area. It is time for them to re-evaluate the "pick a few cities and make neighboring cities drive" route strategy towards medium-size cities and move towards a more network-type approach to these cities. They have the cost structures and increasingly the hub density to make that change a profitable venture.
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)