Aviation U.S. approves Southwest acquisition of AirTran By Chris Davis / April 26, 2011 Share 1 -- The U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division has approved Southwest Airlines' acquisition of AirTran, clearing the way for the carriers to merge. Southwest then reaffirmed plans to close the merger on May 2. According to a DOJ statement, a the merged carriers "will be able to offer new service on routes that neither serves today, including new connecting service through Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport from cities currently served by Southwest to cities currently served by AirTran." Though the statement noted overlapping service on some Southwest and AirTran routes, "the airports affected by the overlaps are not subject to restrictions on slots or gate availability."This report originally appeared in sister publication Business Travel News.