Senate Proposes Additional Airline Aid


With the CARES Act due to expire at the end of this month, airlines are preparing to reduce staffing levels to meet current demand. Under the terms of the aid package, the airlines could not force involuntary reductions in force, though all of them have stepped up early retirements and other separation efforts.  This week, senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced the Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020, a bill that would provide an additional $28 billion to the airline industry and last through March 31, 2021. 

“The CARES Act successfully saved thousands of jobs that support the airline industry and provided these businesses with some breathing space after the drastic drop in air travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Wicker. “However, the market has not turned around as much as we had hoped, and additional relief is needed to prevent more than 60,000 aviation sector employees from losing their jobs beginning October 1. This legislation would extend the critical Payroll Support Program to provide support for passenger air carriers, cargo air carriers, and aviation contractors. It would also preserve our nationwide service by requiring airlines to maintain routes as a condition for receiving assistance. Maintaining a strong national air transportation system is critical for today’s economy and the continued recovery.”

“The pandemic has had a devastating toll on the aviation industry, putting many American jobs at risk. The Payroll Support Program that was included in the CARES Act saved over 700,000 of these jobs. Our legislation to extend this lifeline would help frontline employees to continue to receive a paycheck and require airlines to maintain flights to every community they serve,” said Collins. “As the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I am committed to ensuring that all facets of our transportation network, including buses, motorcoaches, passenger ferries, and public transportation, have the resources they need to survive the current economic crisis.”

The bill would require $11 billion in new appropriations with $17.4 billion coming from unused portions of the existing CARES Act funding. Wicker is the chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Collins is the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. 

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  1. The thought of giving more money to the airline companies just turns my stomach. I would rather see that money go to direct assistance to those who actually end up losing their job, keeping their respective airline employer out of the loop. If the government is going to put conditions like the last aid bill they might as well go back to regulating the airlines as was done prior to 1980. I doubt there would be much support for that.

    • I was going to say the same. What is the purpose of giving money to airline companies if people lose jobs and can’t pay to fly? If 80% of the GDP comes from small to mid-size companies and 77% of employment from small businesses, what do they hope to achieve?

  2. Word is out that knee pads are in short supply. Apparently, there’s been a run on this commodity by thousands of airline pilots and their CEO’s begging on bended knees for a continuation of uncle sugar’s financial aid. By all means, let the taxpayer support the lifestyle you have been accustomed to since in your eyes you are essential to the public.
    Here’s what is essential for everyday requirements and life. The garbage collector, power supply and water distribution, farmers, ranchers and workers that toil in the fields to feed us. Truck drivers that distribute the processed foodstuffs and essentials like toilet paper. How about fire and police protection and most of all, medical healthcare workers. And let’s not forget the postal service, and certainly the grocery store workers who are essential to stocking and selling the groceries.
    My last commercial flight was in February returning from a dive trip. Diving is fun and I miss the three or four trips out of country to pursue this sport but it’s not essential to my wellbeing. In fact, not dealing with airports, airlines, fat people in skinny seats and other negative aspects of commercial flying, has demonstrated that not participating in dive trips is much of a sacrifice.
    In the early 80’s I was furloughed for nearly five years, in fact, the whole group of us that were hired in the late 70’s, eventually received our walking papers. We did not get federal financial aid nor expect it. We weren’t considered essential then nor is it now. In this industry sh!t happens! To mitigate this development, you did what any patriotic American did… go out and find another job. It might even require dusting off the resume and pursuing something besides flying.
    Back then, the global slowdown took years to recover and I anticipate this one will also. As of now, the American traveler is not welcome in most countries because of our mishandling of the Covid virus. Throwing billions more of taxpayers’ money at the airlines will be another example of Federal mishandling.

  3. Simply being barred from most developed nations might be an indicator that all is not well with our handling of the virus.
    However, that is not the main point of my discussion concerning throwing good money after bad. Having witnessed umpteen recessions in this industry, regardless of the causal factor, this would be a precedent to have the taxpayer continue to subsidize payrolls for the airlines when clearly the need for their service will be diminished for the foreseeable future. Downsizing to fit the needs is the capitalist way isn’t it?

  4. Could not agree with you more Hans. I work for a major airline in the U.S. based in Atlanta. We have done what is necessary to sustain going into this and we will sustain coming out. We are not basing our success on how much money we get from Uncle Sam. Put that money to better use in other sectors that really need it. It’s time to clean house and quit relying on the government to bail everybody out. Americans chief said “it’s not fair” come on, really? I respect the industry leaders to want to protect their employees but to whose expense.

  5. Daniel, I’ve been following the rumor mill on the Airline Pilots Central Forum since March. Indications are now that my former employer will hold off furloughs till end of October hoping the Fed’s will dole out another 250 billion for wage support.

    In my case, they squirmed out of their employee retirement debt and wiped out over $300.000 in ESOP share value in addition to the Directed Retirement Plan by declaring bankruptcy. This left me with PBGC and SS. With the debt out of the way and departing bankruptcy in 2006, they proceeded to sell shares over the next 14 years reaching nearly $92/share last year. Heck, if I had a chance to stop mortgage payments but remain in my house the next 14 years I’d be money ahead also. Now, after defaulting on my retirement, they want me to contribute via my taxes to save there bacon once again. This situation is beyond ridiculous and would be laughable if not so serious.

    Bernie was a pariah last year but now his political bent seems to be the trend amongst certain quarters.