PORTLAND — Southwest Airlines’ purchase of AirTran could be great news for travelers using the Portland Jetport.

Jetport Director Paul Bradbury said that once the acquisition takes place, Southwest will become the busiest carrier in the country and having that network service the jetport is important.

“We’re ecstatic over this acquisition,” Bradbury said. “We’ve wanted Southwest in the Portland mix for as long as I can remember…It’s certainly a hole in our offerings if we’re missing the largest domestic airline.”

For years, a percentage of travelers bypassed Portland for Manchester, N.H., in large part because it hosted Southwest, considered the foremost of the low-cost carriers.

Having Southwest in Portland could help keep fares down while opening up a number of new routes.

The acquisition will take time and Southwest’s entry to the Portland market could happen toward the latter part of next year, about the time the jetport’s new terminal will be opening, Bradbury said.