Thousands of aviation layoffs loom amid a dysfunctional Congress

Thousands of aviation layoffs loom amid a dysfunctional Congress

Partiality aside, a question has arisen about the considerations on the hill: Why should airline employees be spared a massive cash injection from Congress when millions of employees in countless other industries have already lost their jobs or are on the verge of unemployment? Unless travel is expected to recover for years, some experts think now is the time to tear the bandage off.

“Will half a year make a difference when the demand builds up?” said Kenneth Button, professor and expert in transportation economics at George Mason University. “Are we going to be in a different position in six months from now? It’s not looking good, to be honest.”

He said there were skills shortage concerns if employees were laid off and either retired, changed careers, or moved to other countries where aviation is returning faster than here.

“The question really is what the minimum size can be so that you can expand when Covid wears off so that you can jump forward after the market opens,” he said.

Aviation industry analyst Henry Harteveldt said that Congress, refusing to provide additional aid to airlines, could force airlines to make “awkward but necessary business decisions that will make them more efficient companies,” despite the fact that Effects on workers are “heartbreaking”.

However, airline leaders insist that with more help, they can move in a positive direction. Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue, recently told CNBC that the payroll expansion “is not a bridge to nowhere”.

“I passionately believe that it is a bridge to somewhere,” said Hayes. “We don’t need a full recovery in [2021] Stand on your own two feet for the industry. We just have to go back to a place closer to normal and we can take it over from there. “

Other subsea transportation industries say they should do a first try before airlines get their second aid.

“With other modes of transport like airlines asking for more money on top of what they got in the CARES act, we’re asking Congress and the administration to help us first before giving any more to these industries,” said Peter Pantuso, president of the American Bus Association, which said an estimated 40 percent of their stores could close by the end of this year.

Proponents of transit also want Congress to approve transit agencies’ request for $ 32 billion to aid their recovery this year.

“We hear that the House is working on a new COVID aid bill … and that airlines (private companies!) Are ALREADY involved, but public transport (a public good!) Is not. This is unacceptable. ” the progressive group Transportation for America tweeted last week.

Other heavily affected sectors such as hotels and restaurants must still benefit from sector-specific federal aid despite devastating job losses.

Aviation unions have argued that airline employees are key players in recovering from the country’s pandemic.

“Expanding the PSP will ensure that pilots, flight attendants and other workers continue to support our airlines’ role in fueling our economies, supporting the US military and transporting American goods and services,” he said representing union leaders, flight attendants and pilots in a recent letter to Congress.

Meanwhile, lawmakers, who were among the most frequent aviators even during the coronavirus era, continue to receive the most personal requests from flight crews with the prospect of being out of work very soon.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Who is in favor of extending the PSP, said at a recent hearing that he is asked by flight attendants and pilots every time he flies about legislative efforts to prevent layoffs in the industry – including a hug from a flight attendant on a recent flight as she thanked him for his “hard work”.

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said he co-sponsored the House version of the bill after an American Airlines flight attendant handed him a note asking for his assistance on a recent flight.


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