American Airlines CEO Doug Parker earned nearly 200 times the median salary of the carrier’s workforce last year. Parker’s 2018 compensation of almost $12 million in stocks and bonuses dwarfed the average employee wage of less than $62,000 annually.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Parker has chosen to be paid in entirely company stock rather than cash since 2015. American Airlines Group’s hometown newspaper reports that executive compensation at the world’s largest airline actually fell slightly following the prior year’s record-breaking revenues.
According to recent shareholder filings, other top American Airlines executives earned big paydays last year as well. President Robert Isom took home $6.68 million. Company CFO Derek Kerr made $3.85 million and VP Steve Johnson earned $3.9 million.
While analysts, including Institutional Shareholder Services, gave American mostly high marks to the airline for executive compensation packages that are tied to performance and in line with salaries at other major North American carriers, labor leaders point to the wage disparity as a sign that management is out of touch with the state of modern air travel. Representatives of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) suggested that that money could be better put to use by being reinvested in the company and perhaps spent on desperately needed upgrades and repairs.
“The fact American Airlines paid its CEO Doug Parker nearly $12 million is the latest sign of disrespect to the company’s hard-working, but beleaguered crew members and passengers who have had to put up with repeated safety concerns, broken luggage bins, missing baggage, flight cancellations, and a disinvestment that has led to one of the oldest fleets in the U.S aviation industry,” a union spokesperson told the Morning News’ Dom DiFurio.
According to a 2018 Skift report, shortly after choosing to be paid solely in company stock, Parker became the second highest paid airline CEO in both 2016 and 2017. Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian was the highest paid airline executive in each of those years with compensation of roughly $13 million annually or about 142 times what the average Delta employee earned.
[Image Source: AP]