GOP Senators Propose $28 Bln To Help Airline Industry

Key Republican senators Roger Wicker and Susan Collins on Monday introduced a Bill that would give U.S. airlines and ground contractors another $28.4 billion in payroll assistance as the industry braces for thousands of job cuts by next month.

The Wicker-Collins bill proposes $11.2 billion in new funds and $17.4 billion from other unspent funds already announced for coronavirus relief measures.

The new legislation earmarks $25.5 billion for new passenger airlines and makes smaller airlines eligible for 15 percent additional funds.

Under the CARES Act, U.S. airlines received billions of dollars in aid on condition that they will not cut their staffing until October 1.

As tens of thousands of airline workers face the threat of layoff from October, the bill proposes to protect them until the end of March 2021.

It is not sure if the Bill will pass before the CARES Act deadline expires on October 1, as the government is deadlocked over a second stimulus package.

The Bill’s sponsor Senator Wicker said 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.

“However, the market has not turned around as much as we had hoped, and additional relief is needed,” he said in a statement.

COVID-19 has forced several airlines across the world to restructure or cease operations. The steep decline of demand, especially among the Business Travel class, has pummeled airline revenues.

From March to July, U.S. passenger airline employment fell by 45,000, according to Airlines for America, a trade group representing major American air carriers.

Airlines that became bankrupt or forced to shut down following deep fall in passenger travel due to the pandemic include Compass Airlines, Express Jet, Miami Air International, RavnAir Group and Trans States Airlines.

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