Airlines Plot Phoenix Routes

Delta and AirTran plan to start new service in mid-February.
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The city of Phoenix is becoming a popular destination for both of the Atlanta-based airlines.

Phoenix is the principal hub of

US Airways

(LCC)

, which launched a hostile takeover bid for Atlanta-based

Delta

(DALRQ)

on Nov. 15. A day later, Delta announced that it would begin nonstop daily flights between Phoenix and its hub at New York's Kennedy International Airport, starting Feb. 15.

On Tuesday,

AirTran

(AAI)

said it would begin nonstop Atlanta-to-Phoenix service, also effective Feb. 15, and build to two daily round trips by March 7. The lowest introductory one-way fare is $119.

AirTran said the addition of Phoenix service results from an online survey that encouraged consumers to log on and answer the question: "Where do you want low fares next?"

US Airways already flies from its Phoenix hub to both Atlanta and Kennedy, while Delta flies from its Atlanta hub to Phoenix. The new flights appear to reflect efforts to add a warm-weather destination in the winter, and to continue AirTran's expansion of its Atlanta hub and Delta's expansion of its New York Kennedy hub.

A Delta spokeswoman said the New York Kennedy-Phoenix flight was planned well in advance of the US Airways merger proposal.