Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has paid out over US$6.5 billion in profits to its employees over the past five years. Credit: Delta.

Most people just get some flowers and a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day.

Employees of US-based Delta Air Lines received a record US$1.6 billion in profit sharing, Patrick Clarke of Travel Pulse reported.

The Valentine’s Day announcement coincided with the unveiling of a special “thank you” plane, featuring the names of the airline’s 90,000-plus employees on its livery, the report said.

The total payout figure translates to a 16.7% payout for eligible employees and comes the same day that the airline announced its intention to commit US$1 billion to become the first carbon-neutral airline, revealing a 10-year plan set to begin next month, the report said.

The Atlanta-based airline has paid out over US$6.5 billion in profits to its employees over the past five years, it said.

“Delta would be nothing without our 90,000 people worldwide,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian in a statement accompanying Friday’s news release.

“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.”

“We’re often asked what sets Delta apart, and the answer is simple: our people,” added 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.”

Delta touted the payout as a win for local economies, the report said.

Emory University economist Jeff Rosensweig stated that “although some of these increments to income will be saved or spent outside of the local economy, much of it will be plowed into increased purchases from local businesses.”

The airline confirmed that the custom “thank you” message printed on the side of one of its Airbus A321 aircraft was designed, produced and installed in-house and involved 48 custom decal panels, the report said.

Workers at the Delta TechOps print shop and hangar in Atlanta spent more than a week working on it. Credit: Delta.

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