Statement from Nicholas E. Calio, President and CEO, Airlines for America After a Phone Call with President Trump and U.S. Airline CEOs

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2020 – A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio issued the following statement today:

We commend President Trump’s unwavering commitment to protecting the health and well-being of the American people and appreciate his efforts to support the U.S. airline industry. The President, Vice President, Secretary Mnuchin and Secretary Chao have expressed a deep understanding of the devastating economic harm that is directly impacting  U.S. carriers as a result of government- and business-imposed travel restrictions as well as the fear generated from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

We very much appreciate the ongoing constructive conversations we are having with the White House and Congress. The economic impact on U.S. airlines, their employees, travelers and the shipping public is staggering. In the short span of two weeks, U.S. carriers – both passenger and cargo – have seen their positions of strong financial health deteriorate at an unprecedented and unsustainable pace. By all accounts, this situation is worse than the financial and operational impact caused by 9/11.

Amid this national health crisis, the U.S. airline industry is doing everything possible to preserve the 750,000 jobs of hard-working men and women who are directly employed by U.S. airlines, including pilots, flight attendants, gate agents and mechanics, as well as the 10 million jobs supported by the industry. Our employees are the backbone of the industry and our greatest resource.

Before this current crisis, U.S. airlines were transporting a record 2.5 million passengers and 58,000 tons of cargo each day. Today, carriers are burning through cash as cancellations far outpace new bookings for U.S. carriers, planes are only 20-30% full and new bookings are implying 70-80 percent declines in traffic even as airlines make dramatic cuts in capacity – and this is getting worse each day with no end in sight.

U.S. airlines are grateful to the President, Vice President, Sec. Mnuchin and Sec. Chao for their ongoing support as we work to protect our employees, keep commerce moving and continue flying people and products across the globe.


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.

For more information about the airline industry, visit our website and our blog, A Better Flight Plan, at

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