A United States House committee has approved another round of funding for airlines in the country amid the ongoing impact of the pandemic. On Thursday, the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee voted 29-24 in favor to provide $14 billion for airlines and $1 billion for contractors to cover payroll until September of this year.
According to Reuters, this financial support is part of a broader coronavirus relief package that is being mulled over by Congress. President Joe Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which didn’t initially include funds for airlines.
The second round of payroll support is set to end at the start of April. So, carriers could be forced to make considerable cuts amid the ongoing flight suspensions and minimal passenger activity.
Several operators have warned that there could tens of thousands of furloughs if support wasn’t extended. For instance, at the end of last month, United Airlines notified some 14,000 members of staff that they could be furloughed. American Airlines also issued a similar warning this month. The Texan outfit has since shared that the funding has been a lifeline for its team members.
In response, unions asked Congress and Biden for additional aid to keep workers on the payroll through fall 2021. The Air Line Pilots Association expresses that the money would help prevent additional financial devastation.
The struggles continue
Ultimately, carriers in the US are burning through millions of dollars each day amid all of the restrictions in place. Moreover, the conditions could get even tougher amid prospects of domestic restrictions.
This week, Delta CEO Ed Bastian shared his frustration about this topic. He said that domestic testing would hinder the recovery of the airline industry while not providing many positive public health results. The businessman concluded that it would be a logistical nightmare and it would send the whole hospitality market back another year in the recovery journey.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) CEO Alexandre de Juniac believes that government partnerships are now more essential than ever. So, if aviation activity is being restricted, authorities need to be working closely with airlines. They need to find a common ground and a balanced solution.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she expects lawmakers to complete legislation based on the bill by the time February is over. Overall, this news will give a sigh of relief for those within the aviation industry.
After many additional members of the public receive the vaccines introduced to combat the virus, there would be a shift in the impact of the pandemic across the country. Nonetheless, the process will take a while, and we may not see any notable changes for several months. Airlines and their employees will undoubtedly be hoping for a positive outcome by the time September rolls around.
What are your thoughts about the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee approving another round of funding for US airlines? Do you think that this is a good move? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.