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US aviation unions ask Congress for another US$32b bailout

[CHICAGO] Six US unions representing aviation workers are asking Congress for another US$32 billion in payroll aid to keep hundreds of thousands of workers employed through March 31, according to a letter to lawmakers on Thursday.

Under the CARES Act passed earlier this year, Congress gave the aviation sector US$32 billion to help airlines and airports meet payroll between March 1 and Sept 30, hoping that a sharp drop in air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic would have subsided by then.

But executives have since warned that a recovery to 2019 travel levels could still be two years away, forcing the need to lay off employees in the fall without an extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP).

"Should October 1 arrive without extending the PSP grant job program mass layoffs are inevitable, as airline executives have acknowledged," union leaders said in letter to the leaders of the House and Senate.

In winning the first payroll package, the industry argued that airlines will form a crucial role in any economic recovery and require trained employees.

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"Airline industry employment cannot simply be put back together overnight, and mass layoffs will do great damage to the sector, with potentially irrevocable consequences," the unions said.

The letter was signed by the Air Line Pilots Association, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the Transport Workers Union, the Communications Workers of America and the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO.


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