Two major airlines cancel 27,000 furloughs after stimulus package passes
With President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package on its way to providing millions of Americans with monetary aid in addition to an extension of the payroll support program, two major airlines have announced that a redaction of their previous decision to furlough thousands of employees.
According to ABC News, employees of United and American Airlines are breathing a sigh of relief as the companies announced Wednesday that they are withdrawing approximately 27,000 employee furloughs.
American CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom told employees in a memo on Wednesday that the warnings about furloughs they received in February are "happily canceled -- you can tear them up!"
ABC News reports that American and United had warned 13,000 and 14,000 employees, respectively, that they would be furloughed in April if the payroll funding, first included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act wasn't renewed.
"By extending PSP, our teams will be able to remain current in their training and ready to match expected future demand," United CEO Scott Kirby said in a statement. "Thousands of frontline workers will now receive paychecks and health care through September, which is especially critical while vaccine distribution continues to ramp up."
To be a recipient of some of the $15 billion aid, airlines must agree to not furlough workers before Sept. 30.
Although airlines have seen promising signs of recovery since the vaccine roll out began, passenger volumes remain down nearly 60% compared with this time in 2020.
Airlines For America, which represents all major U.S. carriers, estimated passenger airlines are still spending approximately $150 million of cash each day.
"We appreciate the Administration's work on this legislation, and we urge President Biden to act swiftly to sign the ARP into law," A4A President Nick Calio said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The U.S. must be a leader in this development," the groups wrote in a letter to COVID-19 Recovery Team Coordinator Jeff Zients on Monday. "The current diverse and fragmented digital health credentials used to implement different countries' air travel testing requirements risk causing confusion, reducing compliance, and increasing fraud."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. government's focus is "on getting more people vaccinated" when asked on Tuesday about support for a standardized digital health passport, ABC News notes.
In addition to this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that even those who've already been vaccinated should avoid traveling.
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