Nicholas Calio, head of the industry group Airlines for America, told The Hill that the bill is to contain aid for airlines, which have been hit hard by the outbreak of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
“We have been told that airline worker relief is in the package and are grateful for the strong, bipartisan support. We are hopeful that this is the start of a negotiation that will help our industry and others in distress,” Calio said, according to the report.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, confirmed that airline aid would be included in the package, according to The Hill.
Prior to the virus crisis, U.S. airlines were transporting a record 2.5 million passengers and 58,000 tons of cargo each day, Airlines for America said in an August analysis of the impact of the pandemic on air carriers.
“As travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders were implemented, demand for air travel declined sharply. The lowest point was reported in April when passenger volumes were down 96 percent to a level not seen since before the dawn of the jet age (in the 1950s),” it said in a statement.
Airlines have warned that without additional aid, there could be layoffs. Relief granted to air carriers under the CARES Act was conditioned on a commitment not to cut staff or pay, but those restrictions run out at the end of September. U.S. airline chief executives and labor leaders on Wednesday redoubled their calls for lawmakers to urgently pass another $25 billion in payroll aid.
Airlines, weathering their toughest crisis ever, said they want to avoid layoffs until the outbreak subsides, arguing that airline service is essential for an economic recovery.
“Everyone agrees that makes sense,” American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Also on “Morning Joe,” International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA Sara Nelson said: “Everyone is for this program, including the White House. No one wants to see these mass layoffs on Oct. 1, so we just need to get this done now.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told news outlets on Thursday that leaders of his caucus are considering an aid package that would be worth around $2.4 trillion.
They said an ideal solution would be a deal with the White House, coming weeks after the two parties hit an impasse over certain provisions.
Republicans have taken issue with around $1 trillion that would be provided to cities and states, while some described other provisions as a “socialist manifesto.”
Reuters contributed to this report.