Southwest Airlines said Wednesday its board has approved a 25% hike in its quarterly dividend and a share buyback of up to $1.5 billion. The dividend will increase to 7.5 cents a share from 6 cents with the new sum to be payable on June 24 to shareholders of record as of June 3. The carrier reiterated its 2015 fleet and capacity plans, saying it expects to take delivery of 19 pre-owned Boeing 737-800 aircraft in 2015 and four pre-owned Boeing 737-800 aircraft in 2016. The company's aircraft capital commitments are $1.1 billion for 2015 and $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion for 2016. Shares were up 2.4% in midday trade, but are down 4% in the year so far, while the S&P 500 has gained about 2%.
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