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AirTran flight attendants in deal with Southwest

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Flight attendants for AirTran Airways said on Tuesday that they have reached a tentative agreement.

Southwest Airlines Co. bought AirTran in May 2011 and is moving toward merging the two operations under the Southwest name. For now, though, they're still flying separately.

"Working in the limited time frame left for AirTran, it became clear it was time to make some difficult decisions, and bring these negotiations to a close allowing our members to determine the next step," said Alison Head, president of the AirTran unit of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, in a prepared statement.

The AFA said the deal covers 1,700 flight attendants, who will vote on whether or not to approve it.

Southwest flight attendants are represented by the Transport Workers Union, while their AirTran counterparts are members of the AFA.

Southwest said the deal will be a bridge agreement for AirTran flight attendants until they all switch to Southwest. It said about 300 AirTran flight attendants have switched to Southwest, with the other 1,700 remaining at AirTran.