DALLAS — With billions of dollars worth of bond-financed projects underway or on the boards, the nation’s airports began adjusting to another competitive shift Monday as Southwest Airlines announced its $1.4 billion stock swap for low-cost competitor AirTran Airways.

Coming the same week in which United Airlines and Continental Airlines Inc. are merging into the world’s largest carrier, the acquisition expands Southwest’s network into the valuable Atlanta hub of Delta Airlines, previously the world’s largest carrier.

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