WASHINGTON, December 1, 2020 – Statement from A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio:
We appreciate the bipartisan group of senators who proactively negotiated the framework for a much-needed, comprehensive relief package for our country which would include provisions intended to help airlines make payroll and protect the jobs of our industry’s hardworking employees. These men and women are the backbone of our industry and a critical component of our nation’s infrastructure.
We were pleased to hear Senator Joe Manchin say the group will draft legislation “very soon,” and Senator Susan Collins note, “it is absolutely essential that we pass emergency relief.”
In addition to Sens. Manchin and Collins, we are grateful for the work of the Problem Solvers Caucus leadership of Reps. Josh Gottheimer, Tom Reed, Dusty Johnson, Dean Phillips, Abigail Spanberger and Fred Upton and the efforts of Sens. Mark Warner, Lisa Murkowski, Jeanne Shaheen, Mitt Romney, Angus King and Bill Cassidy.
Throughout the pandemic, U.S. airline employees have provided essential services, including transporting medical personnel, equipment and supplies. Now, as our nation prepares for the approval of a coronavirus vaccine, it is more critical than ever that our employees are on the job and ready to assist with the distribution of these vaccines across the country and around the world.
The CARES Act passed in March included direct payroll assistance for U.S. airlines, providing the immediate financial relief necessary to keep airline employees on the job and out of our nation’s growing unemployment lines. Unfortunately when that funding expired on September 30, tens of thousands of employees – including flight attendants, pilots, mechanics and many others – were furloughed. U.S. airlines have said they may be able to restore these jobs if the Payroll Support Program (PSP) is extended, but this becomes increasingly challenging with each passing day.
We continue to hold out hope that Congress will act swiftly to preserve the jobs of these hardworking men and women in the U.S. airline industry.
Airlines for America (A4A) members are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and UPS. Air Canada is an associate member.
A4A advocates on behalf of the leading U.S. airlines, both passenger and cargo carriers. A4A works collaboratively with industry stakeholders, federal agencies, the Administration, Congress, labor and other groups to improve aviation for the traveling and shipping public.