Southwest offers buyouts to 'ensure survival'

Southwest Airlines is trying to avoid the first-ever layoffs in its 49-year history by extending buyout packages and temporary paid leaves to employees.

CEO Gary Kelly said a reduction in labor costs were necessary for the airline to survive, according to documents detailing the voluntary leave incentives seen by Reuters.

The airline expects travel to rebound slowly - with the number of flights this fall to be 30 percent below normal.

Southwest is not alone. Airlines around the world are slimming down their flight schedules and cutting back on staff.

But U.S. air carriers have their hands tied when it comes to job cuts after agreeing to not layoff any workers until October 1st -in exchange for government aid.

In order to avoid actual layoffs, Southwest is offering employees who agreed to at least a six-month leave, half their salary plus benefits and those who take the buyout can get up to a full year's pay...and even more for pilots.

The cost-saving measures were well received by investors, sending the stock higher in Tuesday trading.