Economy

Airlines Prepare For Layoffs, Flight Cuts As Benefits End

Robin Hayes, JetBlue's CEO, is adding his voice to the chorus of airline officials in need of more federal help for the airline industry, Bloomberg reported.

Hayes, seeing the plummeting passenger levels and meager revenue, said things were "very, very critical" right now. Without more aid in place, carriers will likely have to make tens of thousands of more layoffs after Oct. 1 when restrictions expire on $25 billion of existing U.S. payroll aid that was set in place to keep the planes flying as much as possible and stop layoffs from happening through Sept. 30.

"The day of reckoning is coming for the industry because we can’t continue with where we are in terms of numbers of jobs we have and see demand at 25 percent to 30 percent of where we’d normally be," Hayes said on Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg reported.

Hayes called for the President Donald Trump administration and Congress to resolve differences and pass a new stimulus plan.

JetBlue plans to fly around 40 percent of its usual schedule in August, a 10 percent to 15 percent cut from its previous plan, Bloomberg reported.

Meanwhile, as the aforementioned aid is set to expire, American Airlines said it would have to throw out flights for nearly 25 small- to medium-sized cities, CNBC reported. The carrier was granted $5.8 billion by the aid program.

Cancellations for travel dates for up to 30 destinations could start happening as soon as next week, a source told CNBC.

Labor unions and executives from the airlines have lobbied for another $25 billion in aid through the end of next March, according to CNBC, and while the idea has support from both parties as well as Trump, a full stimulus package hasn't been agreed upon yet.

As the pandemic surges, airline recovery has largely stalled in the U.S., with bookings falling again after briefly rising early in the summer. In April, the daily passenger volume was around 5 percent of 2019 levels, and while it rose to around 33 percent by June, it began to fall again in July.

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