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Delta pays record $1.6 billion in profit sharing to staff – and puts all their names on a plane

Custom 'thank you' message involves 48 custom decal panels, took more than a week to install


February 18, 2020
By Talent Canada Staff

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The "Thank You" inscribed on the side of this plane features the name of every Delta employee. (Photo courtesy Delta Airlines)

Delta Air Lines is paying out a whopping $1.6 billion in profit sharing to its employees, an amount it calls a record for a U.S. based company.

It works out to a 16.7 per cent payout for eligible employees.

“Delta would be nothing without our 90,000 people worldwide,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “They deserve all the credit for our success, and we are proud to recognize their extraordinary work with a $1.6 billion payout – marking the sixth year in a row that Delta’s profit sharing has exceeded $1 billion.”

$6.5 billion paid to staff in five years

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The airline has paid more than $6.5 billion in profits directly to its employees over the past five years – a milestone no other company has ever achieved.

“We’re often asked what sets Delta apart, and the answer is simple: our people,” said Joanne Smith, executive vice-president and chief people officer. “That’s why profit sharing is one of the most important days of the year. It’s all about Delta people sharing in the success they make possible through hard work and a focus on our customers.”

Special plane with employee livery

At a profit sharing celebration this morning in the airline’s hometown of Atlanta, Delta leaders unveiled another symbol of the company’s appreciation: a custom aircraft livery featuring all 90,000 employee names, alongside a message that the aircraft is “dedicated to the world’s best employees and customers.”

The custom “thank you” message featured on this Airbus A321 aircraft was designed, produced and installed in-house by Delta people. The process – which involved 48 custom decal panels – took more than a week to complete at the Delta TechOps print shop and hangar in Atlanta.

For Joel Freeland, a TechOps painter who worked on the project, the aircraft is particularly meaningful.

“It’s so wonderful to get to do a project like this,” said Freeland. “The idea was conceived within Delta, and all the employees working together have made it a reality.”


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