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Southwest Airlines to pay pilots millions in bonuses as ‘gratitude’ for working during meltdown: CNN

Southwest Airlines' CEO Bob Jordan.Southwest Airlines’ CEO Bob Jordan.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

  • Southwest will pay pilots an estimated $45 million in bonuses for working during the service meltdown last year, per CNN.
  • Some 9,400 pilots are expected to be paid 50% of their regular pay, CNN reported.
  • Other employees, including flight attendants, will also be compensated.

After it’s recent holiday fiasco, Southwest Airlines has reportedly agreed to pay its pilots millions in bonuses, according to a CNN report on Saturday.

Southwest employs some 9,400 pilots who are expected to be compensated 50% of their regular pay, CNN reported, citing a message sent by the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association to a member. The equivalent pay will exclude paid holiday, sick pay and vacation time.

The news outlet pegs the estimate bonus payments to be around $45 million. 

These bonuses, or “gratitude pay,” are meant to compensate pilots for working through the airline’s service meltdown last December, the report states. Some employees, including flight attendants, will also be compensated.

Lyn Montgomery, the president of TWU Local 556 — the union representing the airline’s flight attendants — said in a statement to CNN that at their behest, “Southwest Airlines agreed to offer flight attendants working during the company’s operational failures a small stipend in addition to their pay.” 

Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan took responsibility for the carrier’s operational meltdown over the recent holiday season. “I’ve said it before, but I can’t say it enough how sorry I am for the impact these challenges have had on our employees and our customers,” he said in a January 5 statement.

Southwest cancelled almost 17,000 flights last December amidst a brutal winter storm in central and eastern US, disrupting travel plans across the country. Some passengers drove several days to their destinations, and many said they lost thousands of dollars after being stranded.

A group of Southwest shareholders have sued the airline for downplaying or dismissing issues in its scheduling system, Insider previously reported. The class action lawsuit, filed on January 12, alleges the airline has caused “significant losses and damages” because of the drop in the airline’s market value.

Southwest previously disclosed that the cancelled flights in December could cost the company up to $825 million in lost revenue, passenger compensation, and “gratitude pay” to employees.

Southwest and TWU Local 556 did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment, sent outside regular hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider