Tags: Coronavirus | Trump Administration | airlines | bailout | aid | economic | stimulus

Airlines Tell Congress They Need $29 Billion Immediately

seats are empty on a flight
A Delta flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport flies nearly empty to JFK on March 15, 2020 near New York City.(John Moore/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 22 March 2020 12:30 PM

The shutdowns of the airline industry has airlines pressing Congress for immediate aid that is not merely loan-based in order to avoid massive furloughs or layoffs through Aug. 31.

Airline executives seek at least $29 billion immediately in "worker payroll protection grants," CNBC reported.

Senate Republicans have proposed a $58 billion aid package, but opponents are questioning whether the money is better served to address the health crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Also, the $58 billion in aid is in the form of loans the airlines would have to repay, per the report.

"Time is running out," CEOs of Southwest, Delta, Alaska, American, United, JetBlue, Hawaiian, UPS Airlines, and FedEx, and their lobbying group, Airlines for America, wrote to Congress, according to CNBC. "Unless worker payroll protection grants are passed immediately, many of us will be forced to take draconian measures such as furloughs."

U.S. airlines employ 750,000 and are urging employees to take unpaid leave. Delta reported Friday 13,000 of its 91,000 employees have volunteered, but CEO Ed Bastian told staff that more volunteers are needed, per the report.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby warned employees in a memo that short of "sufficient government support by the end of March, our company will begin to take the necessary steps to reduce our payroll in line with the 60% schedule reduction we announced for April.

"May's schedule is likely to be cut even further.

Loan-based aid "will saddle airlines with so much debt that it will lead to bankruptcy and workers (who are right now on the front lines of this virus) will be hurt again," Association of Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson wrote to senators on Saturday, per CNBC. "A real relief plan has to put workers first — always — but especially in the middle of a public healthcare crisis. Federal aid designed for payroll is the only way to prevent massive layoffs. Loans won't cut it."

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The shutdowns of the airline industry has airlines pressing Congress for immediate aid that is not merely loan-based in order to avoid massive furloughs or layoffs through Aug. 31.Airline executives seek at least $29 billion immediately in "worker payroll protection...
airlines, bailout, aid, economic, stimulus
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2020-30-22
Sunday, 22 March 2020 12:30 PM
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