Airline CEOs plead with White House for more aid as over 30,000 face furloughs

"It's not fair to them, not fair to our country," American Airline's CEO said.
Airline Ceo Gty Ps 200917 1600368166555 Hpmain 16x9 992
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly, center, speaks alongside other airline executives, including, from left, United CEO Scott Kirby, Delta CEO Ed Bastian, Hawaiian President and CEO Peter Ingram, American Airlines chairman and CEO Doug Parker, and Airlines For America President and CEO Nicholas Calio, and Alaska President and CEO Brad Tilden, right, following a meeting at the White House about extending economic assistance to the airlines, Sept. 17, 2020.

(ABC News) – Major U.S. airline CEOs are pleading with White House and Congressional leaders for more federal aid as more than 30,000 U.S. airline employees face furloughs in two weeks following the expiration of relief provided by the CARES Act.

On Thursday the CEOs met with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. They are asking for an additional $25 billion in federal assistance that would prevent involuntary furloughs until the end of next March.

“It’s not fair. It’s not fair to them, not fair to our country, there’s enormous bipartisan support, an extension of the payroll support program, which would keep those people employed. And the only problem we have is there’s not a vehicle for getting it done,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told reporters after the meeting.

In addition to jobs, Parker is concerned that smaller communities in the U.S. will be underserved after the CARES Act expires and airlines are no longer barred from cutting off service to an entire market.

American Airlines announced late last month that it will temporarily stop flying to 15 cities in early October.

“So we’re just here to plead with everyone involved to get to a COVID package before Oct. 1,” Parker said. “On Oct. 1, those people are furloughed … and small communities will lose service.”

A group of 16 Senate Republicans and over 200 House members have expressed their support for an extension of the payroll support program, but they have yet to reach an agreement.

On Wednesday, Parker and unions representing American Airlines employees sent a joint letter to Meadows, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the House and Senate leadership, warning them that there “is no time to waste” for the nearly 20,000 American employees facing furloughs.

Categories: US & World