The airline industry is in desperate need of a cash infusion, and now President Donald Trump is putting pressure on Congress to get on board with a bailout. In a tweet sent late Tuesday, the president stated “The House & Senate should IMMEDIATELY Approve 25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support, & 135 Billion Dollars for Paycheck Protection Program for Small Business. Both of these will be fully paid for with unused funds from the Cares Act. Have this money. I will sign now!”
The tweet came just hours after President Trump announced he was walking away from talks with congressional Democrats over their proposals to spend at least $1.6 trillion for additional coronavirus relief. The move appeared to stop all momentum toward a $25 billion bailout for the airline industry. And it’s one the industry desperately needs, as passenger travel has hovered at around 30% of 2019 levels due to the pandemic. A number of airlines have recently announced involuntary furloughs that could shrink the industry’s workforce by 25% in the coming month.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has previously expressed support for a stand-alone bill to keep airline workers employed, and now with the president signaling his support, it looks like a bailout may be on the way. Congress is expected to return to session on October 19.
The U.S. Travel Association has stated that without the bailout, the airline industry could see an additional loss of 1.3 million jobs by December.