The trade organization which represents commercial airlines that are based in the United States has requested $50 billion in assistance as a result of the economic impact which they have suffered due to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV — pandemic.
$50 Billion Bailout Requested by Airlines; Trump to “Back the Airlines 100%”
Airlines for America has submitted its proposal of requests earlier today, Monday, March 16, 2020 in this document — which calls for both $25 billion in grants for passenger airlines and $25 billion in loan guarantees and tax relief for the first three months of the year — after air travel from China and most of Europe was blocked by the United States; and after a significant reduction in domestic travel because of concerns pertaining to the spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
The request also asks for $4 billion for cargo airlines; and the tax relief includes a refund of the federal excise tax for the period of Wednesday, January 1, 2020 through Tuesday, March 31, 2020 — as well as the suspension of federal excise tax through Friday, December 31, 2021.
“We’re going to back the airlines 100%,” Donald Trump — who is the current president of the United States — said during a news conference, as he believes that the airlines should be supported by the federal government. “It’s not their fault.”
As to whether the complete request by Airlines for America will be fulfilled remains to be seen.
The entire official statement from the trade organization is as follows, with all typographical errors intact:
This is an extremely fluid situation that is evolving rapidly. The rapid spread of COVID-19, along with the government and business-imposed restrictions on air travel, are having an unprecedented and debilitating impact on U.S. airlines. Carriers have seen a dramatic decline in demand, which is getting worse by the day. Carriers have been forced to remove flights from their schedule and make historic capacity cuts. Cancelations are spiking, and for U.S. carriers those cancelations are outpacing new bookings. The economic impact on U.S. airlines, their employees, travelers and the shipping public is staggering. This crisis hit a previously robust, healthy industry at lightning speed and we remain concerned that the impacts of this crisis will continue to worsen.
U.S. carriers are in need of immediate assistance as the current economic environment is simply not sustainable. This is compounded by the fact that the crisis does not appear to have an end in sight. In order to combat this unprecedented economic downfall, A4A is recommending the following combination of programs to provide immediate and medium to long-term assistance to the U.S. airline industry and protect their employees: 1) grants; 2) loans; and 3) tax relief. More information is available here.
“This is a today problem, not a tomorrow problem. It requires urgent action,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio.
U.S. airlines are in continuous conversations with the Administration, Congress and labor unions in an effort to secure financial assistance from the federal government to protect and preserve the 750,000 jobs of hardworking men and women who are directly employed by U.S. airlines, as well the 10 million jobs supported by the airline industry. This includes pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, gate agents, ticket agents, parking attendants and many more. Our employees are truly the backbone of the U.S. airline industry and our greatest resource, and U.S. carriers are doing everything in their power to protect their livelihood.
After what seems to be a vast array of countless devaluations and cuts of benefits overall to customers — that’s us — in recent years during when the economy was booming, airlines now want assistance…
…and although I agree that commercial airlines are vital in their contributions to a vital economy, guess who gets to pay at least $25 billion of the aforementioned assistance. Hint: if you pay federal taxes in the United States — that’s you.
I have a thought: how about the billionaires — at least one of whom apparently ordered the shutdown of the entire global health security unit of the White House National Security Council and purportedly thought that doing so was a good idea — foot the bill for the request of assisting the commercial airlines?
Either that, or get the airlines to promise to rid us — the customers — of their draconian restrictions and the carrier-imposed fee and plethora of other junk fees before we agree to bail them out. Have them vow to relax at least some of their restrictive policies to become more friendly to the customer.
I am not pleased, to say the least.
Just remember the next time a customer service representative tells you that he or she “can’t” honor your request without a fee that they suddenly were able to allow you to “book with confidence” by waiving change fees and cancellation fees during this 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic via their marketing departments…
All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.