Total Rewards Action Recording: How the Airline Industry is Navigating in Disruption - 10/29/20

Featured guest for i4cp’s October 29, 2020 Total Rewards Action Call was Ruth Cusack, Managing Director of Compensation and Benefits at Alaska Airlines. Headquartered on the West Coast, the airline flies passengers and cargo to 115 destinations in the U.S. and North America.

Key Ideas Shared Today:

  1. Pandemic-caused losses have been huge in the airline industry
    • Personal travel is rebounding somewhat, but business travel remains depressed with sales of corporate air travel tickets down more than 85% across the airline industry.
    • A poll taken during the call found 43% of call attendees confirming that their organizations now allow essential business travel only on approval of a C-level leader.
    • Cusack says that volume at Alaska Airlines dropped 97% following the outbreak of COVID-19
  2. How Alaska Airlines leaders have sustained the business
    • Senior leaders reacted immediately to ensure the company’s survival.
    • Loans totaling $5 billion were obtained to provide an operating cushion and position the airline for growth when recovery begins.
    • Alaska Airlines has continued its history of facing challenges in ways that seek to lift the company to the next level—in other words, working to make the best of difficult situations.
    • When another airline serving Alaska went out of business, Alaska Airlines and another carrier stepped up to fill the void left by the loss.
  3. Alaska Airlines has acted to reassure and care for its people
    • Cusack observes that people won’t resume air travel until they feel safe, and the company’s actions have reflected that understanding.
    • Alaska Airlines partnered with the University of Washington and connected with the CDC to tap expertise needed to ensure that the company’s decision-making was based on the latest medical intelligence and recommendations, and reflected Alaska Airlines’ commitment to the health and safety of employees and customers.
    • The company immediately provided masks, hand sanitizer, wipes, and other safety necessities to its employees and initiated the latest cleaning methods (such as UV use) to sanitize its planes.
    • In airports, Alaska Airlines installed plexiglass screens and signage promoting social distancing to keep people safe. In its corporate workspaces, the company stepped up cleaning schedules, removed chairs from conference rooms to lower occupancy, and insists on social distancing and masks.

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Access the recording of today’s full Total Rewards Action Call here

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