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Southwest sets May 2 closing date on AirTran buy

The merger of Southwest and AirTran will change

The merger of Southwest and AirTran will change travel for many travelers, mostly to their good. Photo Credit: Getty Images File

Southwest Airlines, the dominant carrier at Islip's Long Island MacArthur Airport, has set May 2 as the date it expects to close on its deal to buy low-fare rival AirTran Holdings Inc.

All regulatory approvals should be in place by then, the Dallas-based airline said.

A merger could mean a major expansion of destinations from MacArthur, including Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and many smaller cities. It would extend Southwest's reach to Mexico, Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the Caribbean.

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