Southwest Airlines to share $355 million with its employees

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) today announced it will share $355 million through its Profit Sharing Plan with its Employees for 2014—equaling approximately 9.6 percent of each eligible Employee’s eligible compensation, or the equivalent of five weeks’ pay. This $355 million contribution—nearly $1 million a day—is the largest total dollar amount Southwest has ever allocated to Profit Sharing.

The airline continued:

“Not only is this amount $127 million more than the previous record, set with last year’s contribution of $228 million, but it’s also more than the last two years of ProfitSharing combined—an increase of 56 percent compared with 2013. Since its inception, Southwest Airlines has shared more than $2.8 billion with its Employees through ProfitSharing—and almost $1 billion in the past six years alone.”

“Last year was chock-full of historic milestones and monumental accomplishments, and I’m immensely proud and grateful for our People who worked so hard to make it happen. It was truly a heroic effort,” said Gary Kelly, Chairman, President, and CEO of Southwest Airlines. “Our Employees take ownership in our success, and when the Company does well, our People do well. Because of them, we can realistically aspire to fulfill our Vision of becoming the World’s Most Loved, Most Flown, and Most Profitable Airline.”

When this Profit Sharing contribution is added to the Company’s $289 million in Company match and other amounts contributed to the Southwest and AirTran 401(k) retirement plans, Southwest will have rewarded Employees with a 2014 total retirement benefit of approximately $644 million. In addition to retirement contributions, Southwest Airlines also invested approximately $618 million in its Employees’ other benefits during 2014, including healthcare coverage, and other welfare and wellness programs. In total, that’s nearly $1.3 billion dedicated to the wealth and wellbeing of Southwest Employees in 2014 alone, on top of base salaries.

Southwest was the first in the industry to offer a Profit Sharing Plan. Through the Profit Sharing Plan, Southwest Employees currently own more than four percent of the Company’s outstanding shares.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8H4 N8655D (msn 42529) with Aviation partners Boeing Split Scimitar Winglets approaches the runway at Baltimore/Washington.

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Icelandair video: The making of Hekla Aurora Boeing 757-200 logo jet

Icelandair (Keflavik) has now officially launched its special Northern Lights color scheme on the pictured Boeing 757-256 TF-FIU (msn 26243). The airline has produced this video which explains how the special livery was put together. The airliner was actually painted two months ago as we previously reported.

Top Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. TF-FIU departs from London (Heathrow).

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Video: Want to know how Hekla Aurora was made? Check out this video from Icelandair and see the new northern lights plane features in-cabin Aurora Borealis mood lighting!

Icelandair continues:

“Watch a team of amazing artists paint an entire Icelandair plane into the beautiful northern lights. A world first, bringing the northern lights to an airport near you. This livery is a part of our #MyStopover campaign. You can take an Icelandair Stopover in Iceland for up to 7 nights at no additional airfare on your way between Europe and North America. ”

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American Airlines becomes the airline of the Chicago Cubs, is a logo jet coming?

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American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today issued this statement:

American Airlines, which has operated from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) for more than 30 years, is strengthening its ties with Chicago by becoming the Official Airline of the Chicago Cubs and historic Wrigley Field. American has signed a long-term Legacy Partnership with the Cubs, one of the most beloved franchises in Major League Baseball.

Beginning with the 2017 season, American and the Cubs will add a new premium club space located behind home plate with access for premium box seat ticket holders.

American’s 8,500 Chicago-based employees will take great pride in their company’s new branding presence at Wrigley Field, including a fixed sign on the brick wall by the Cubs’ batting circle at Wrigley Field and video board features in the historic ballpark. American will host employees, fans and the team at festivities throughout the season, which will include Cubs player and mascot appearances, giveaways and the Cubs Road Trip sweepstakes.

The agreement includes marketing opportunities at the Cubs’ Spring Training facility, Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona. American also becomes a Hall of Fame sponsor of Cubs Charities’ primary fundraising event, the Bricks and Ivy Ball, and will provide domestic round-trip air travel packages for the organization’s fundraising efforts.

In an agreement with a separate enterprise controlled by the Ricketts family, American will present the “American Airlines Executive Conference Center” as part of the office building to be developed in the new plaza location adjacent to Wrigley Field.

For more than 30 years, American Airlines has been the preferred airline at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), offering an average of 500 daily departures to 115 destinations around the world. American recently co-located with its merger partner US Airways, offering customers easy access to all of the combined carrier’s flights at Terminal 3.

Is a Chicago Cub logo jet coming?

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Mesa Airlines orders seven more Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft

Mesa Airlines, Inc. (Phoenix) has announced it has reached an agreement in principle, subject to definitive documentation, with Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. for the purchase of seven new CRJ900 NextGen aircraft to operate under a long-term capacity purchase agreement with a major U.S. airline. The aircraft will be purchased new from Bombardier and will bring the total number of CRJ900 aircraft operated by the Company to 64. The Company expects delivery of the seven additional aircraft in 2015. The agreement also includes an undisclosed number of options to purchase additional CRJ900 aircraft.

American Airlines is expanding the agreement with Mesa for these seven new CRJ900s. All 64 CRJ900s will eventually be operated under the American Eagle brand.

Mesa currently operates its CRJ900s as an American Eagle and US Airways Express carrier.

Mesa was the launch customer for the CRJ900 aircraft in 2001 and is one of the largest operators of CRJ900 aircraft in the world.

The addition of these seven aircraft and 11 new E-175s scheduled for delivery later this year will bring Mesa’s fleet total to 115 aircraft by October of 2015.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier CRJ900 (CL-600-2D24) N948LR (msn 15118) climbs away from Los Angeles International Airport.

American Eagle-Mesa Airlines aircraft slide show:

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American Airlines and Korean Air announce a codeshare agreement

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and Korean Air (Seoul) have signed an agreement to begin codesharing. Pending regulatory approval, Korean Air will place its code on American Airlines flights between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Incheon International Airport (ICN) in Seoul, South Korea.

Once approved, the two carriers plan to sell codeshare flights for travel beginning in April 2015. The new agreement will allow Korean Air SKYPASS members to earn miles when traveling on American-operated flights between DFW and ICN.

American began serving Seoul in May 2013.

American’s route between DFW and Seoul is operated with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft. The airline is retrofitting all 47 of its 777-200s to refresh the cabins and enhance the premium experience on international flights. The retrofitted 777-200 features a Business Class product designed especially for American’s customers, with a fully lie-flat seat, direct aisle access and a private flying experience. The plane has a modern interior – including a walk-up bar – with unique lighting, a dramatic archway and a spacious look.

Top Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-223 ER N776AN (msn 29582) of American Airlines arrives in London (Heathrow).

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Allegiant Air arrives in New Orleans from Cincinnati

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) yesterday (February 4) celebrated the start of seasonal, low-cost service to New Orleans from Cincinnati (CVG). Local travelers can now laissez les bon temps rouler in the Big Easy just in time for Mardi Gras.

New Orleans is the first of two new cities Allegiant will be launching from CVG in February, with flights to Jacksonville, Florida beginning on February 12. Both cities were previously served nonstop from CVG by other carriers and were recently discontinued. Cincinnati is the first city to be connected with Allegiant’s newest destination and will offer travelers their first low-cost option for flights to New Orleans.

The seasonal flights will operate twice weekly from the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) through May 4, 2015.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 N302NV (msn 2387) completes its final approach to the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

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QANTAS Airways to return to Vancouver with seasonal services

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) has announced it will return to Vancouver for the northern hemisphere summer season on the Sydney-Vancouver route starting on June 20. The restored route will be operated three days a week.

QANTAS will operate 33 roundtrip flights between Sydney and Vancouver – 13 in June/July, and 20 from mid-December to late January 2016, operated by a three-cabin, 364-seat refurbished Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

In other news, QANTAS is also making improvements to its Honolulu services with schedule changes to improve arrival and departure times in Honolulu. The new times will open up more onward connections to other Hawaiian Islands, and will also facilitate a fifth weekly service to operate on Mondays during peak seasons, from September 7 – October 19, 2015 and November 30, 2015 – January 25, 2016.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-438 ER VH-OEJ (msn 32914) in the special “Proudly Supporting the Socceroos” livery arrives at Los Angeles International Airport.

QANTAS aircraft slide show:

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