Southwest Airlines might be the low-cost airline that says its “low fares actually stay low” but that doesn’t mean the Texas-based carrier can’t treat its employees every now and again. And that’s exactly what Southwest is doing, with an announcement that it will dole out $543 Million in its annual profit sharing scheme.
All 56,000 Southwest staffers will be getting a cut of the huge payout – working out to about 11.3% of what each employee would expect to earn in an entire year. Southwest says the bonus will equate to about 5 weeks worth of pay – the majority will be paid in cash but the remainder, about 1.3%, will make its way into a pension plan.
Linking the success of the airline with the performance of its staff, Southwest’s chief executive, Gary Kelly commented: “Our Employees never lose focus on connecting our customers to what’s important, even in a year of great triumphs and great challenges,”
“They continue to be the primary reason Southwest stands apart from the rest, and it’s a pleasure to be able to reward their hard work and dedication to our success.”
This is the 44th consecutive year Southwest has offered a profit-sharing scheme – the airline says it was one of the first in the industry to offer the benefit. It’s no surprise other airlines were quick to follow suit – the schemes are a clever way to drive performance and reward employees only when they hit targets.
Famed for its own profit-sharing bonuses, Delta Air Lines is expected to announce what its employees will receive in the next few days.
Last year, the airline said it would share over $1billion in profit to its 80,000 employees. It was the third year in a row Delta’s bonus scheme had broken the $1billion barrier – the scheme is linked to operational, financial and customer satisfaction performance.
And only a couple of weeks ago, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines announced a pot of $118 million would be shared as incentive bonuses with its 23,000 staffers. Not quite on the same scale as Southwest’s scheme, Alaska estimates its staff will see a bonus worth around 7% of their annual wage.
If this goes to prove anything – U.S. airlines are no doubt making more profit than ever before. It’s nice to see that they’re sharing some of that money with their hard-working employees.