Lawmakers in America are set to pass a bipartisan stimulus package that will see $15 billion on the way for U.S. airlines that have been forced to furlough tens of thousands of employees in the past months.
The news comes from Reuters, who says that the $15 billion worth of payroll assistance payments will help U.S. airlines reinstate 32,000 workers until the end of March, 2021.
News of the $15 billion payment on the way for the U.S. airline industry is part of a larger government stimulus package, which is expected to be passed due to bipartisan support.
The package would see $900 billion of COVID-19 relief payments made available to the government to prop up railroad operator Amtrak with $1 billion of support, $14 billion for the public transportation system and $10 billion to fund state highways, according to Retuer’s sources close to the matter.
According to the aviation industry body, Airlines for America, U.S. airlines are losing more than $180 million every day, with passenger numbers down anywhere between 65-70% with flight cancellation numbers rising dramatically.
Reuters writes that “the aviation assistance comes after five months of furious lobbying – first by aviation unions and later by airline executives – who argued the industry desperately needed new government held as travel demand remains devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The $45 billion COVID-19 transportation package is also set to include $1.75 billion for airports and around $200 million for airport concessionaires and $2 billion for the private motorcoach, school bus and ferry industries.”
The $15 billion that is on the way for U.S. airlines is expected to help bring the more than 32,000 airline workers who have been furloughed since October. The U.S. Government’s $25 billion airline bailout that was unveiled early in the year expired on September 30, which forced airlines to furlough a large number of workers.
American Airlines furloughed 19,000 of its employees, with United Airlines confirming that more than 13,000 of its employees had been furloughed.
The report from Reuters says that airline workers will be paid their salaries up until the 1st of December, and the added funds will help some airlines return to flying routes that have either been stopped or reduced, due to the impact of COVID-19.
Reuters writes that “the new assistance program is expected to mirror the $25 billion program approved by Congress in March, which required larger airlines to repay 30% of the payroll grants over time and offer the government warrants. It is also expected to include minimum flight requirements.”
Part of the government’s wider $900 billion COVID-19 support package would see payments of $600 made directly to individuals, with unemployment payments boosted by $300 a week and rental assistance payments subsidised with $25 billion of added funds.