Airline CEOs plead with White House to avert looming U.S. job cuts

By Jeff Mason and David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows met with major airline chief executives on Thursday as the industry braces for thousands of job cuts in two weeks, and urged lawmakers to embrace a $1.5 trillion coronavirus aid package proposed by a bipartisan congressional group and endorsed by President Donald Trump. Meadows told reporters 'if (House) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi was willing to move a bill to keep people from being laid off in the airline industry that's stand-alone, that the president would certainly support it.' Other transportation sectors are also seeking billions of dollars in new bailout funds, including public transit, bus companies and the Amtrak passenger rail service. Meadows said the administration had examined executive action options, all of them less than ideal

Reuters September 18, 2020 00:06:14 IST
Airline CEOs plead with White House to avert looming U.S. job cuts

Airline CEOs plead with White House to avert looming US job cuts

By Jeff Mason and David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows met with major airline chief executives on Thursday as the industry braces for thousands of job cuts in two weeks, and urged lawmakers to embrace a $1.5 trillion coronavirus aid package proposed by a bipartisan congressional group and endorsed by President Donald Trump.

Meadows told reporters "if (House) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi was willing to move a bill to keep people from being laid off in the airline industry that's stand-alone, that the president would certainly support it."

Other transportation sectors are also seeking billions of dollars in new bailout funds, including public transit, bus companies and the Amtrak passenger rail service.

Meadows said the administration had examined executive action options, all of them less than ideal.

Airlines did not offer a new proposal but again made the case that helping avert airline job cuts was one good reason to pass a broad coronavirus relief bill.

After the meeting with Meadows, American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker said it was "not fair" that thousands of airline workers were about to be laid off.

"It's not fair to them, it's not fair to our country. ... We're just here to plead with everyone involved to get to a COVID relief package before October 1," Parker said.

He said there is "enormous bipartisan support" but there is no legislative vehicle yet to win approval.

Southwest Airlines Chief Executive Gary Kelly said after the meeting the initial payroll support plan "didn't go far enough and long enough."

American has said it plans to end service to 15 small communities without additional government assistance and furlough about 19,000 workers.

At the end of this month the $25 billion in federal payroll assistance airlines received when the coronavirus first began spreading around the world is set to expire.

Congress also set aside another $25 billion in government loans for airlines, but many have opted not to tap that funding source.

Companies such as American are now pleading for a six-month extension while they simultaneously negotiate with employees to minimize thousands of job cuts that are expected without another round of aid.

Air travel has plummeted over the last six months as the coronavirus pandemic has claimed nearly 196,000 American lives and prompted many to avoid airports and planes, seriously depressing airline revenues.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, David Shepardson and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Jonathan Oatis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.