American CEO: ‘We Need Laws, Not Bills’ that Extend Payroll Support for the Airline Industry

By Paul Riegler on 28 September 2020
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American Airlines CEO Doug Parker is an optimist.  Despite the odds, he believes there’s still hope, despite just a few days until a crucial October 1 deadline for the airline industry, to get additional payroll support from the federal government.

It’s on that day that tens of thousands of airline employees – from pilots to gate agents to flight attendants – will be laid off amidst the coronavirus pandemic-induced downturn in travel.

Appearing on the CBS news program “Face the Nation,” Parker made his case for a congressional act to further support the airline industry.

“The payroll support program, unfortunately, expires on October 1st,” he said, explaining that, at the time the bill was passed in March, everyone “thought demand would be back” and that “e wouldn’t need support beyond this beyond this time.”

The problem, he went on to say, is that this wasn’t the case and, absent an extension of the payroll support program, “there are going to be 100,000 aviation professionals who are out of work, who wouldn’t be otherwise”

“That is why we are fighting so hard to get that payroll support extended,” he told anchor Margaret Brennan.

Parker believes he can push through legislation to get this done before the first.

“Our plan actually is to get Congress and the administration to come together and get the Covid relief package passed that will include support and an extension of payroll support program,” he said, eliciting some element of disbelief by the interviewer.

The AA CEO said that there’s “tremendous” bipartisan support for the program and that legislators have included it in numerous bills although none has yet passed.

What he needs is for action to translation into words in a piece of legislation that makes it to the president’s desk for signature.

“We have everyone putting us in every bill they have,” he said. “We just need the bills to be laws. We need… we need laws not bills.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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