Southwest CEO Takes Pay Cut

Gary Kelly trims salary 10% as airlines cut back over coronavirus slowdown
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2020 11:21 AM CDT
Southwest CEO Takes Pay Cut
Gary Kelly, chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The airline industry is getting slammed by the coronavirus outbreak, and airlines are responding accordingly. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly is taking a 10% pay cut, reports the Wall Street Journal, while United CEO Oscar Munoz and United President Scott Kirby are forgoing their base salaries until at least the end of June. Elsewhere, American and Delta laid out cuts to international and domestic flights, and airlines began easing up on fees for passengers who change or cancel flights, per USA Today. They've also been reducing revenue forecasts.

"The velocity and the severity of the decline is breathtaking,” Kelly told employees in a video seen by the Journal. "There is no question this is a severe recession for our industry and for us, and it's a financial crisis." Kelly's base salary was $750,000 in 2018, though his total compensation was $8 million, notes CBS News. It isn't clear if his 10% cut is coming off only the base salary. Another industry change, this one overseas: Reuters reports the European Commission is suspending "use-it-or-lose-it" airport slot rules that resulted in airlines flying largely empty jets solely to keep their takeoff and landing rights at airports. (Read more airline industry stories.)

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