Airlines, labor unions push for a third round of federal aid with travel demand still depressed

Association of Flight Attendants International President Sara Nelson joins airline executives, fellow union heads and political leaders to name on Congress to cross an extension of the Payroll Support Program to save lots of hundreds of jobs, throughout a information convention exterior the U.S. Capitol September 22, 2020 in Washington, DC.

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Some airline executives and labor unions are searching for a third round of billions in federal aid as tens of hundreds of employees once more face furloughs with travel demand still depressed within the pandemic.

The present round of aid, $15 billion, expires on April 1, and American Airlines and United Airlines over the previous week have warned they may lower a mixed 27,000 jobs then. Those funds can solely be used to pay employees and requires that they name again furloughed employees and keep present jobs.

“Essential workers have been living with incredible chaos and uncertainty. The furloughs are felt by the entire workforce,” Sara Nelson, worldwide president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the nation’s largest flight attendant union, stated in written testimony at a House listening to Thursday. “A continuation of [payroll support] can’t wait.”

Congress put aside $25 billion in aid designed to maintain workers on the payroll firstly of the pandemic final 12 months that required them to keep up jobs till Oct. 1. A $15 billion aid bundle was handed within the newest coronavirus aid invoice in December that has the identical phrases by March 31. Airlines and labor unions now need one other $15 billion to ensure jobs by Sept. 30.

“We are fully behind our union leaders’ efforts to fight for an extension and we will lend our time and energy to support this effort in every way we can,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom stated in a employees word saying 13,000 furlough warnings on Wednesday. “Our nation’s leaders understand the vital role airline workers play in keeping the country moving. They showed their support last year and we will encourage them to do the same again as the pandemic continues around the world.”

Last week, United airways informed employees that it’s “continuing to monitor demand and advocate for continued government support, and we are all working hard toward the day when we can bring back our furloughed co-workers permanently.

Travel demand is still weak. U.S. airlines lost a record $34 billion in 2020 and have warned they expect a rocky start to 2021 as they navigate new travel restrictions and testing requirements.

Last month, the U.S. started requiring inbound travelers to test negative for Covid-19 to board flights to the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now “actively trying” at making Covid tests mandatory for domestic travel, something the industry vehemently opposes.

Asked whether the industry should get a third round of federal aid, JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes told CNBC on Monday that the hard-hit travel and hospitality sector has been among the hardest-hit parts of the economy.

“I believe that it is proper and pure that that is the place assist ought to be focused,” stated Hayes.

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