US House of Representatives Committee Approves Another $ 14 Billion for Pandemic-Affected Airlines


FILE PHOTO: A lone customer seeks assistance at an American Airlines check-in counter at Reagan Washington National Airport during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, in Washington, USA, on April 29, 2020. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque / File Photo

(Reuters) – A U.S. House of Representatives committee on Thursday approved a proposal to give airlines another $ 14 billion in payroll assistance as part of a broader COVID-19 relief package that is making its way. in Congress.

It would be the third round of support for the industry affected by the pandemic. American Airlines and United Airlines have warned of some 27,000 permits without an extension to the current package that expires on April 1.

The House Financial Services Committee on a 29-24 vote approved the $ 14 billion for airlines and $ 1 billion for contractors to cover payroll through September.

The funds will be included in President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, whose initial plan did not include new money for airlines. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she expects lawmakers to complete legislation based on the bill by the end of February.

American Airlines said in a statement after the committee vote that the payroll support program, which covers employee wages and prohibits job cuts, “has been a lifesaver for our team members.”

American airlines are spending millions of dollars every day as the pandemic crushes demand for travel.

The Airline Pilots Association, the world’s largest pilot union, said the funds “would help prevent the additional financial devastation that would result from the aviation industry being forced to lay off tens of thousands of workers.” .

However, budget carriers Spirit Airlines, Allegiant Travel and Frontier Airlines have said in recent weeks that they intend to resume hiring pilots later this year.

Reuters reported for the first time many of the details of plans to provide new assistance to America’s airlines, transit systems, airports and Amtrak passenger rail.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski and David Shepardson; Edited by Leslie Adler

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