Airline industry is facing its biggest crisis ever, says flight attendant union president

The airline industry is facing its biggest catastrophe ever as Capitol Hill hits one other deadlock over a coronavirus aid invoice, mentioned Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

“We are experiencing a crisis that is bigger than all the financial crises that the airline industry has faced since airplanes first took flight,” Nelson informed CNBC on Tuesday night.

It has been 250 days because the final stimulus invoice handed. While there’s new discuss, there was no motion on a brand new Senate bipartisan $908 billion measure, which incorporates cash for small companies, state and native governments, and funding for $300-per-week unemployment advantages. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shot it down, saying he wants to determine what President Donald Trump will truly signal. 

“We don’t have time for messaging games. We don’t have time for lengthy negotiations,” McConnell mentioned Tuesday after the invoice was launched. 

In interview on “The News with Shepard Smith,” Nelson mentioned the March stimulus invoice ought to have taken the guesswork out of negotiations and writing one other invoice. She mentioned, “[It] was the most transparent, most successful package of all of coronavirus relief, and it’s supposed to be the template that can be used for every other industry.” 

Airline staff obtained monetary assist via the CARES Act’s Payroll Support Program which was signed into legislation on March 27. It saved airline workers on the payroll through the pandemic, however these advantages expired Sept. 30. Nelson defined that, on account of federal inaction, hundreds within the airline industry turned unemployed. She added that lawmakers might take crucial steps to assist the ailing airline industry by authorizing one other spherical of payroll assist.

“Hundreds of thousands of workers have lost their pay, many are disconnected from healthcare and wondering how they’re going to pay their rent check, how they’re going to get by, and they are in those bread lines right now with a lot of other Americans,” Nelson mentioned. “We have been waiting for this common sense legislation that, right now, would get 95 votes on the Senate floor if it were there for a vote, and we have been waiting for this to get passed since August.”

Air journey demand over Thanksgiving was down about 60% from a yr in the past. Airlines could have reduce the equal of about 90,000 jobs by year-end, together with greater than 30,000 furloughs at airways like United and American that started final month and the departure of hundreds of different staff who accepted buyouts from Southwest, Delta and different carriers.

Nelson painted a grim image of the place airline revenues at the moment stand. “Let’s be really clear, travel was down 60% during the Thanksgiving holidays, but it’s down to half of that during the week,” she mentioned. “There’s no business travel going on and revenues are half of that because there’s no business travel.”

Boston Consulting Group‘s predictions urged that journey wouldn’t rebound to 2019 ranges till 2023 or 2024.

Nelson mentioned she stays optimistic that air journey will bounce again. “We’re going to have the airline industry rebound, and the first time someone gets a business deal because they went there in person, trust me, it’s going to get back to normal.”

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