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Southwest to start flights to Puerto Rico in April

DALLAS (AP) -- Southwest Airlines plans to fly beyond the lower 48 states next April, when it begins daily service to Puerto Rico.

The airline said Thursday it will operate three daily flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Orlando, Fla., and one from Tampa, Fla.

The routes are currently flown by AirTran Airways, which Southwest bought last year.

The Southwest flights will start April 14. The airline touted a special fare of $99 each way for tickets purchased by next Tuesday for travel between April 15 and May 23 except Fridays and Sundays.

AirTran will still fly to San Juan from Baltimore, Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Southwest said it was determining when to switch those flights to the Southwest name. AirTran began flying to San Juan from Orlando and Atlanta in 2008 and added other cities later.

Southwest plans to phase out the AirTran brand over the next few years.

Shares of Dallas-based Southwest, the nation's fourth-biggest airline, rose 23 cents, or 2.6 percent, to close at $9.05.