DALLAS, TX – Southwest Airlines will share about $125 million with its employees after reaching a partial settlement with Boeing over damages from the grounding of the airplane maker's 737 Max.
But the president of the pilots union at Southwest says that the amount doesn't fairly compensate employees for wages they've lost from flights being canceled due to the grounding.
Southwest, which had about 59,000 employees at the start of the year, said Thursday that the settlement covers only a portion of its projected damages from the Max grounding. It declined to provide more details on its ongoing negotiations with Boeing.
The Dallas carrier has been among the hardest hit by the grounding of the Max in March after a pair of deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Without the planes, Southwest has been canceling about 175 flights each weekday. Southwest had 34 Max planes when they were grounded and expected more to be delivered this year.
Southwest reported in October that the grounding had cost it $435 million in operating income during the first nine months of the year.
Earlier this month, the airline pushed back the expected return date for the troubled aircraft until at least March 6. Pilots union officials believe it will be at least April before Southwest puts passengers on the Max.
The airline said Thursday that money given to employees will be funded as part of its annual 2019 profit sharing distribution next year.
Boeing spokesman Peter Pedraza said the company won't comment on discussions with individual customers, “but we are working closely with all of them to support them through this difficult time.”