Last updated: 03:00 PM ET, Thu September 17 2015

Delta Gives Back In A Big Way

Airlines & Airports | Delta Air Lines | Rich Thomaselli | September 17, 2015

Delta Gives Back In A Big Way

Delta Air Lines delivered an early holiday present to most of its 80,000 worldwide employees on Wednesday, announcing it will increase base pay by 14.5 percent effective Dec. 1.

The carrier will also continue to offer profit sharing and is increasing its 401(k) dollar-for-dollar match from 5 to 6 percent.

The impetus?

How about $2.2 billion in profit so far this year for the Atlanta-based airline?

In a memo to employees, CEO Richard Anderson and President Ed Bastian said, “When combined with the April (annual pay) increases, pay rates for most employees will be up 18 percent or more in 2015, providing you with record pay raises in a year of record profits. Few companies can match that.”

Delta noted it has more than returned more than $3 billion to shareholders in the last two years and has reduced its debt by $10 billion, while continuing to invest in aircraft, the onboard customer experience and upgrading facilities worldwide.

Delta said it was responding to employee feedback by putting more money in base pay. The increase will be for all eligible merit, ground and flight attendant employees around the world on Dec. 1.

The new profit-sharing formula, for payouts in 2017 and beyond, shares 10 percent of profits until the airline matches its prior-year profitability and then pays 20 percent of profits, with no limit.

And Delta will now match employees’ 401(k) contributions up to 6 percent of pay starting Jan. 1. With automatic and matching contributions from the airline, which together can equal up to 8 percent of employee earnings, the total will add up to 14 percent of an employee’s income.

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