Airlines Calling on White House for COVID-19 Relief to Avoid Layoffs

The airline industry is desperately seeking another $25 billion in payroll support ahead of October 1, the first day carriers can begin laying off employees under the terms of the CARES Act.

Airlines, including American, Delta and United, are expected to cut tens of thousands of jobs this fall as demand for air travel remains way down in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to The Hill, airlines and unions are urging the Trump administration and congressional Democrats to extend the payroll support program for another six months to avoid any layoffs until April 2021 at the earliest.

“We expected and hoped that the virus would have abated, and demand for air travel would have rebounded, by [October 1]. Unfortunately, that has not been the case, and demand is still historically low,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and the heads of major unions wrote in a letter to COVID-19 relief bill negotiators on this week.

Without additional relief, Airlines for America (A4A) President and CEO Nick Calio warns that massive job cuts are inevitable.

“There’s no way for us around it. We can’t just wait to see if the government acts. While we’re hopeful that Congress might act…there are probably some executive actions that could be taken,” Calio said. “If there are and Congress is not going to act, we would encourage them.”

“The number of jobs down-economy driven by a single airline job is significant. We believe that we are uniquely positioned to help empower a recovery if we can survive,” he added via The Hill.

Last month, Trump said that it’s “very important that we keep the airlines going” and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the president is considering executive action if Congress doesn’t act to help the industry avoid mass layoffs.

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