U.S. airlines are asking the federal government for $50,000,000,000 in financial aid after taking major hits due to the Coronavirus outbreak. People are canceling their flight bookings, forcing airlines to give refunds. People are scared to fly, and with the travel restriction between the U.S. and Europe, some people are not able to fly despite needing to.
Professionals warn that the COVID-19 pandemic can have a greater affect on the aviation industry than 9/11. "Airlines for America, a trade group representing U.S. airlines, is asking for $29 billion in federal grants, with $25 billion for passenger airlines and $4 billion for cargo carriers. The airlines are also seeking up to $29 billion in low-interest loans or loan guarantees, and they want federal excise taxes on fuel, cargo and airline tickets to be suspended through the end of next year."
President Donald Trump said his administration would "100%" back the airlines. "It's not their fault." He has not, however, produced a plan of how he is going to help them.
United has announced it will cut it's flying capacity in half in the months of April and May, and warns this could extend into the peak summer season. They expect flights to be at 20-30% full, which is down from 85% in early 2019. According to CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby, "Munoz and President Scott Kirby said in a letter to employees." They wrote in a letter to employees "'When medical experts say that our health and safety depends on people staying home and practicing social distancing, it's nearly impossible to run a business whose shared purpose is "Connecting people. Uniting the world.'" United is cutting corporate workers salaries by 50%.
AA said they planned to cut long haul flights by 75%, and U.S. flights by 30% in May. They have not said anything about employee lay offs, but they do plan to ground 135 aircraft. AA said they will keep flying 2 daily international routes: Dallas to London, Miami to London, and Dallas to Tokyo, which will be 3x weekly. They also plan to continue shorter international routes to Canada, Mexico, and South America as normal.
Delta plans to cut routes.
It is expected that Southwest will take the worst hit, and possibly go under. It does not help that Chicago Midway airport, one of Southwest's largest hubs, recently closed due to three air traffic control tower workers testing positive for COVID-19. It is also predicted that American Airlines may go bankrupt, but will recover.
What airlines do you think will take the worst hits? What airlines do you think will go bust? How has your travel been affected? Let us know, wash your hands, and stay safe!
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