American Airlines to give profit sharing to employees

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Coming off record earnings, American Airlines says it will make profit-sharing payments to employees. | AP file photo

DALLAS — Coming off record earnings, American Airlines says it will make profit-sharing payments to employees.

American said Wednesday that it will share 5 percent of its pretax earnings with all employees, except top management, starting in early 2017 based on 2016 results. Including its regional-flying subsidiaries, American has about 118,000 employees.

Some American employees have complained that they don’t get profit sharing like counterparts at other airlines. Delta paid out $1.5 billion last year, United shared $698 million with employees, and Southwest paid out $620 million. At last year’s pretax profit, American would have paid about $315 million.

American says its profit-sharing rate will be lower than other airlines, but added that it plans to offer higher hourly pay rates once it finishes renegotiating union contracts. Unions, which traded profit sharing for higher base pay in leaner years, would need to approve the profit sharing.

CEO Doug Parker had resisted profit sharing and preferred compensation be set by pay rates. But he told employees Wednesday that there is a team-building benefit to profit sharing.

The company also said it will speed up a 6 percent raise for flight attendants to April 1. The raises were to follow expected increases at United, but bargaining on a new contract at United is still going on.

Last year American Airlines Group Inc., which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, earned $7.6 billion. Excluding one-time items like a big tax-accounting credit, the adjusted profit was a record $6.3 billion.

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