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In May, AirTran to start flying nonstop to Seattle

The Baltimore Sun

AirTran Airways said yesterday that it plans in May to begin flying five times a week to Seattle from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

It will mark the airport's only nonstop flights to the Northwestern city.

The airline also said it would resume seasonal service to Dallas-Fort Worth and Milwaukee, in April and May, respectively. It also will add service to Charlotte, N.C., beginning in May.

The news comes on the heels of an announcement that the airline would launch service to Portland, Maine, and fly daily to BWI, beginning in June.

AirTran is BWI's second-largest carrier, with about 10 percent of the market. It trails Southwest Airlines, which offers just over half of the flights from the airport.

But AirTran says it will continue growing in 2007, despite a fourth-quarter loss because of fuel costs. It plans to begin service from at least a half-dozen new cities and add at least 15 new nonstop routes between all of its destinations.

AirTran officials said the growth at BWI is in response to demand.

BWI's airlines fly to a total of about 60 domestic destinations nonstop from the airport. BWI officials had considered Seattle a major hole in the airport's offerings. They had been working on the carriers to offer the service for some time.

"Seattle was one of the highest-priority domestic markets for BWI," said Jonathan Dean, an airport spokesman. "Service between BWI and Seattle was one of the largest underserved markets in the country."

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