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Extension of airline payroll aid sought by unions, and Congressmen

A BIPARTISAN group of US Congressmen along with airline unions are calling for an extension of federal aid to prevent an expected wave of aviation layoffs expected in October, reports Bloomberg

22 July 2020 - 19:00

A BIPARTISAN group of US Congressmen along with airline unions are calling for an extension of federal aid to prevent an expected wave of aviation layoffs expected in October, reports Bloomberg.

The airline industry, facing steep declines in passengers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, has begun alerting employees to expect job cuts numbering in the tens of thousands.



A federal aid programme alloted US$32 billion for passenger and cargo airlines as well as industry contractors to cover payrolls through September 30. Seven lawmakers led by Oregon Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio, also chairman of the House Transportation Committee, appealed for an extension of the protections for another six months.



They urged other members to join in urging House and Senate leaders to extend the Payroll Support Programme saying it had 'saved hundreds of thousands of aviation jobs - and not a penny went to enrich the airlines themselves or their shareholders.'



The call was echoed by 13 aviation unions including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and others, who wrote a letter to members of Congress, saying, 'This is the simplest and fastest way to maintain Congress' historic commitment to keep aviation workers on payroll.'



Congress is working on additional aid packages as the coronavirus outbreak continues. It's not clear whether the Republican-controlled Senate would join such an effort to extend payroll protections for airlines.



Passenger counts have come back significantly from their lowest point in April, when demand dropped by more than 95 per cent. However, the recovery has stalled in recent weeks at about 26 per cent of the equivalent passengers from 2019, according to Transportation Security Administration data.


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