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AP: Southwest Airlines gives its CEO big pay hike

Southwest rewards exec after earnings surge.By DAVID KOENIG AP Airlines Writer
Published: 4/17/2011  2:34 AM

DALLAS – Southwest Airlines Co. more than doubled its CEO’s compensation for last year, to nearly $3.4 million, thanks mainly to a stock award worth $1.8 million.

Gary C. Kelly was rewarded for a big jump in Southwest’s income as passenger traffic rose sharply in a bounce-back year for the airline industry.

Southwest’s earnings surged to $459 million last year from $99 million in 2009, although its stock price did not appreciate as quickly – rising 14 percent in 2010. Kelly also engineered Southwest’s biggest acquisition ever, the $1.4 billion purchase of AirTran Airways that will increase Southwest’s size by 25 percent. The deal is expected to close in the next few weeks.

Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/business/article.aspx?subjectid=45&articleid=20110417_46_E5_DALLAS637622

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