Airlines are applauding the house passage of the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill, which is expected to save 27,000 airline workers from furloughs that were slated to start in just weeks.
In January, United Airlines sent warnings of possible April 1 furloughs to 14,000 employees. A week later, American Airlines told 13,000 employees that they would be furloughed without more federal help. The bill provides a second extension of the Payroll Support Program, which airlines and unions call critical to keeping workers on the job.
“For our 13,000 colleagues who received Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notices last month, those are happily canceled – you can tear them up,” American’s Chairman and CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said in a Wednesday letter to employees.
President Biden is expected to sign the bill into law Friday, according to the White House.
American Airlines says once that happens, its workers will receive pay and benefits through Sept. 30, 2021.
“Congress has saved thousands of airline jobs, preserved the livelihoods of our hard-working team members and helped position the industry to play a central role in the nation’s recovery from COVID-19,” an American Airlines statement said.
In a statement, Sara Nelson of the Association of Flight Attendants said the bill will keep aviation workers receiving paychecks and healthcare through September “so we’re in place to meet demand as vaccinations are readily available and travel returns to the skies.”