The Clock is Ticking for Lawmakers to Save Airline Jobs and the U.S. Airline Industry

By Jonathan Spira on 23 September 2020
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While Congress moved with great speed and alacrity to approve emergency funding for the airline industry in March, just as the industry was beginning to feel the effects of the massive coronavirus pandemic-induced drop in travel, it is moving in a dilatory fashion to assist the industry now that unprecedented damage has been done.

Six months later, government intervention may be the only way to preserve hundreds of thousands of jobs and preserve a semblance of the U.S. airline industry as we knew it at the start of the year.

Our research at FBT shows that it may take 24 months before air travel begins to return to its pre-pandemic levels.   While domestic travel has somewhat recovered, it is still down approximately 63% compared to the same period last year, while international air travel – given the numerous border closings due to the pandemic – is down by 84%.

The airline industry has parked some 1,800 aircraft as a result of the decline in travel and it intends to do the same, metaphorically speaking,with hundreds of thousands of workers.

While the U.S. airline industry itself employees 750,000 workers, it indirectly supports ten million jobs and $1.7 trillion in economic activity, according to Airlines for America, an industry trade group representing major U.S. carriers.

But time is running out.  Unless Congress acts quickly, there may not be an airline industry as we know it when life returns to a semblance of normalcy in a post-pandemic world.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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