Sept. 17 (UPI) — The heads of all major U.S. airlines met with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Thursday to ask for more federal aid amid ongoing hardships in the aviation industry.
Attending the meeting with Meadows at the White House were American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, United CEO Scott Kirby, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, Delta CEO Ed Bastian, Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram, Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden and Airlines For America President Nicholas Calio.
Airlines worldwide have taken significant losses since the pandemic began early this year and virtually all have made cutbacks in some fashion to offset the lost revenues from declines in passenger traffic.
Meadows told the CEOs Thursday President Donald Trump would support $25 billion in additional financial aid for the industry to save thousands of jobs.
U.S. airlines can begin laying off employees on Oct. 1 when a moratorium on job cuts expires, which was attached to the first round of federal funding in the spring.
“I never thought I’d say $25 billion was a small number, but compared to $1.5 trillion, it’s a rather small amount of additional assistance that could potentially keep 30,000 to 50,000 workers on the payroll,” Meadows said. “If we’re going to get something separate prior to that deadline, it’s going to have to happen next week.”
“We had a very good meeting with the chief [of staff],” Kelly said. “The first CARES Act kept this country out of pandemic and I think the only mistake that was made is that it didn’t go far enough and long enough.”
Without further federal aid, American said last month it will cut 19,000 and United said it will dismiss 16,000.