Southwest, ATA Plan Frequent-Flier Alliance

Southwest Airlines plans to coordinate its frequent-flier plan with partner ATA Airlines by the end of the year, Southwest Chief Executive Gary Kelly said Wednesday.

Speaking at an investors conference in New York, Kelly said Southwest's schedule-sharing partnership with ATA has exceeded expectations and will probably produce more than $50 million in revenue for Southwest this year.

The coordination of frequent-flier programs, in which customers will earn miles flying on either airline, is the next logical step in the partnership between the two carriers, Kelly said. He also said that he is considering a schedule-sharing partnership that would allow Southwest passengers to connect to ATA's international flights.

ATA, based in Indianapolis, filed for bankruptcy last year. Dallas-based Southwest is the most profitable carrier in the industry.

Kelly also said Southwest might be interested in bidding for some of bankrupt US Airways' gates in Philadelphia, even as that airline attempts a merger with America West Airlines.