After another profitable year, Southwest Airlines is sharing the love with its employees in the form of a profit sharing payment worth a total of $543 million.
That’s equivalent to about five weeks of pay for each of Southwest’s 56,000 employees.
It’s something of an annual tradition for the Dallas-based carrier, which has weathered the ups and downs of the airline industry to be profitable for 45 straight years. A year ago, employees got $586 million as a share of their share of the profits the carrier made.
“Our employees never lose focus on connecting our customers to what’s important, even in a year of great triumphs and great challenges,” Southwest’s CEO Gary Kelly said in a statement. “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.
”In 2017, the company reported a profit of $3.5 billion, boosted in part by recent changes to the U.S. tax code. The company announced separate $1,000 bonuses for employees last month tied to savings from the tax legislation.
The profit-sharing payment translates to about 11.3 percent of an employee’s pay. The company said 10 percent of that will be put into retirement accounts, with the remainder paid out in cash. Both of those payments will be made on March 15.
North Texas’ other carrier, Fort Worth-based American Airlines, also has a profit sharing program that was instituted in 2016. That program pays out a smaller percentage of the company’s profit, with a total payment of $241 million for employees based on 2017 earnings.