Southwest Airlines Co. will defer deliveries of 30 Boeing Co. 737 jets by about four years, helping the largest discount carrier save more than $1 billion in capital spending in 2013 and 2014.
Half the planes will be handed over in 2017, and the rest a year later, Southwest said Wednesday. All are Boeing 737-800 models, and Southwest had been set to get 20 next year and 10 more in 2014, Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly said at the Dallas-based airline’s annual meeting.
Southwest also raised its quarterly dividend to 1 cent a share, from 0.45 cent, to be paid June 20 to stock holders of record as of June 6. The dividend, the only one paid by any major U.S. carrier, had been projected to stay unchanged, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Authorization for stock buybacks will double to $1 billion, Southwest said.
Southwest rose 2.1 percent to $8.24 at 12 p.m. in New York. The shares of the fourth-largest U.S. airline tumbled 33 percent in the 12 months that ended yesterday, trailing the 13 percent slide for the 10-carrier Bloomberg U.S. Airlines Index.
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