A trade body that represents major U.S. airlines has detailed plans for over $50 billion in immediate financial assistance that they say will be needed to keep the country’s aviation industry afloat and help protect more than 750,000 workers directly employed by American carriers. In a stark warning, Airlines for America said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had hit with “lightning speed” and that the “impacts of this crisis will continue to worsen.”
“This is a today problem, not a tomorrow problem. It requires urgent action,” said A4A president and chief executive Nicholas E. Calio. Cancellations are currently outpacing new bookings and there is rising speculation that a complete domestic ground stop might be announced by the Trump Administration in the coming days.
Sara Nelson, leader of America’s largest flight attendants union said on Monday afternoon that the entire airline sector was in “crisis” and called for direct payroll subsidies that would not only protect the livelihoods of aviation workers but also allow airlines to quickly scale up their operations once the crisis is over.
In addition, the airline industry will also need immediate tax relief claimed A4A.
“The economic impact on U.S. airlines, their employees, travelers and the shipping public is staggering,” a statement from the organisation continued. In addition to directly employed airline workers like pilots, flight attendants and gate agents, there are an estimated 10 million jobs supported by the airline industry in the United States alone.