Airlines Could See More Relief Ahead Of Stimulus Deal, Pelosi Says
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Friday urged major airlines to delay more than 30,000 planned job cuts, citing “imminent” relief for the embattled industry.
“Today, I am calling upon the airlines to delay their devastating job cuts as relief for airline workers is being advanced in Congress,” she said in a statement.
The cuts and furloughs set to take effect this week—including 19,000 from American Airlines and 13,000 from United—were prompted by the expiration of a $25 billion federal aid program set up under the CARES Act.
In a statement, Pelosi said the “imminent” support would either come as part of a new relief plan (if top policymakers can come to an agreement) or be part of a stand-alone bill.
That’s a major reversal for the Speaker of the House, who up until now has been adamant that aid legislation not be passed on a “piecemeal” basis.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has negotiated with Pelosi for months on the next round of federal coronavirus aid, has been a proponent of more industry-specific aid for struggling sectors including airlines, restaurants and hotels.
Shares of United jumped more than 2% on the news, and shares of American saw a 3% boost.
“As relief for airline workers is being advanced, the airline industry must delay these devastating job cuts,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Along with retail and restaurants, the airline industry is among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Under the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March, ten airlines received a cumulative $25 billion in rescue funding. That bailout came with several crucial conditions, including that the airlines agree to keep on 90% of their staff through September and suspend stock buybacks and dividend payments.
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