Southwest Airlines To Buy AirTran

Southwest Airlines will buy AirTran for about $1.4 billion, the company said Monday, allowing it to expand in some key smaller U.S. markets it doesn't already serve.

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ARI SHAPIRO, host:

NPR's business news starts with a budget airline merger.

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SHAPIRO: Southwest announced this morning that it is buying the budget carrier AirTran. The $1.4 billion deal gives Southwest slots at airports that it has long wanted access to, including Atlanta and Washington, D.C.'s Ronald Reagan National.

Southwest's presence at those airports is likely to put pressure on big airlines to keep ticket prices lower. This deal comes as the airline industry keeps on shrinking. The merger of Continental and United Airlines should be complete this week.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The Korean carmaker Hyundai is recalling 139,000 of its Sonata sedans in the United States. A manufacturing defect in the steering system could cause some 2011 models to lose control.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation, we're told. Hyundai says there have been no reported crashes or injuries related to the problem.

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