Workers at Delta Air Lines have scooped more than $1 billion in profit share for the fourth consecutive year.

The Virgin Atlantic joint venture partner airline will have paid more than $5 billion in the last five years.

The 2018 payout, made on Valentine’s Day, is nearly double that of the other US-based global carriers combined, Delta claimed.

The latest windfall for more than 80,000 employees worldwide marks their “outstanding accomplishments”.

The US-carrier’s employees earned the $1.1 billion payout for their role in delivering record-breaking operational and customer satisfaction performance as well as a strong financial performance.

Chief executive Ed Bastian said: “This is the fourth year in a row that Delta’s profit sharing has topped $1 billion – a milestone no company in history has ever achieved.

“Delta people are the reason for our success and Valentine’s Day is our favourite day each year as we celebrate the incredible results our people have delivered.”

He added: “Our industry-leading profit sharing and compensation philosophy reflects a decision we made a long time ago to share in the company’s success each year with our people who make it possible.

“Rather than make a one-off payment like other companies, Delta is invested in highly competitive base pay, an industry-leading annual profit sharing plan, and monthly bonuses each year when the airline performs well.”