Late Monday night, the U.S. Senate, as predicted, passed a $900 billion, nearly 5,600-page emergency economic relief bill that’s expected to be signed by President Trump this week. In it, as we previously reported, is some $15 billion to extend the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) that was part of the first round of COVID-19 relief measures and helped keep U.S. airlines afloat during an unprecedented downturn in travel. The new bill also includes $2 billion for airport relief, with some $45 million targeted at general aviation airports. With this aid, which is expected to become available as early as next week, airlines are expected to slow their planned staff-reduction efforts and even begin bringing back some furloughed employees. Airlines and related industries received $25 billion in the spring under a program that expired on Sept. 30.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom issued a statement that said, “We’re grateful that our elected officials heard us and passed a bill that includes an extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP), an important indication that our nation’s leaders believe in our team as much as we do. This PSP extension will enable us to bring furloughed team members back to work and resume air service to cities and towns that rely on us—all at a critical moment.”
“This new, bipartisan relief package provides an important and helpful path forward as we all work to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “Our industry continued to make our voices heard in Congress, ensuring these important provisions to support general aviation airports, air carriers, businesses and workers were maintained and expanded as we continue to navigate through this unprecedented crisis.”
Airlines for America said in a statement, “On behalf of our member airlines, [the association] applauds the U.S. Congress for passing the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which will provide much-needed, comprehensive relief for our country. We are especially grateful for the provisions to provide direct payroll support to U.S. airlines and protect the jobs of flight attendants, mechanics, pilots, gate agents and others.
Throughout the pandemic, U.S. airline employees have seamlessly provided essential services, including transporting medical personnel, equipment and supplies.”