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AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc., announced today that the company's chairman and CEO, Joe Leonard, was honored as the 2007 Airline Strategy Award recipient for Low Cost and Regional Leadership by Airline Business magazine. Leonard and AirTran Airways were "recognized for an innovative strategy that has produced consistent profits in an extremely tight market," according to the magazine.

The winds may be changing at Midwest Air Group Inc. The company that steadfastly rejected escalating offers from AirTran Holdings Inc. is opening its board room doors to its rival. The low-cost carrier will make its case Monday for its hostile buyout of Midwest to the company's board of directors, who have continually pledged that Midwest Airlines is more profitable alone.

AirTran Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joe Leonard said the Orlando-based operator of AirTran Airways will dispel rumors about its buyout offer -- AirTran does not, for instance, plan job cuts at Midwest's Milwaukee headquarters. He and other executives will make a presentation and take questions over a three-hour period, when tensions could run high, he said.

Shareholders are tendering their shares in favor of the hostile bid -- now a cash and stock deal worth $389 million -- so the board must set aside its feelings and listen, he said.

Who thinks Leonard should bring cookies...
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