Southwest Airlines is paying funeral expenses for the family of a Southwest Flight 93 passenger who was killed on a flight in Kansas in 1999, the airline’s chief executive told investors on Monday.
Southwest Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said that the company’s new annual compensation plan includes compensation for funeral expenses.
In a letter to investors released by the company, Bastian wrote that Southwest’s compensation plan for the death of Flight 93 flight captain Michael Smith was set up in the last year of Smith’s presidency.
“Michael was the only passenger on our Boeing 737-800 flight to Kansas City and the only person to die on the plane,” Bastian writes.
“He was the first passenger to arrive on the flight, and he was the last person to leave the plane.
The plan was put into place for Michael to ensure that all family members were compensated for the loss of their loved ones.”
The plan, which has a $10 million payout to the family, includes a bonus of up to $500,000.
Bastian added that the compensation plan is the result of “the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of Southwest employees and pilots, many of whom were impacted by the attacks.”
The airline said in a statement on Monday that the airline “will continue to support our families and the victims of this tragedy by providing every assistance possible.”
It said that it “will make every effort to support any family that may have been impacted by this tragedy.”
Southwest’s annual compensation program was set to expire in 2019.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Bastien said that he was “not surprised” by the news that the new plan will pay compensation for the funeral expenses of Flight 9/11 victims.
“I am not surprised by the fact that it’s being paid,” Bastien told Bloomberg’s Paul O’Brien.
“We’re paying for it.
I’ve said it before.
We’re paying our people, we’re paying the airlines, we pay the insurance companies.
We pay all the other things that go into it.”
Bastian was speaking on the earnings call of Southwest’s new Chief Operating Officer for the United States, James McQuade.
The company’s CEO also announced plans to expand its service to serve a greater area of the world, which he said would be made possible by “the expansion of the Southwest network.”
Bastien added that it was the “best thing that could ever happen to Southwest.”
He also said that “we will continue to work to bring additional new flights and to bring in new revenue streams” as the company tries to expand into other parts of the country.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Bastia said.
“The best thing for Southwest, I think, would be to have that plan in place.”