MIAMI – In an unexpected move by US President Donald Trump, negotiations between Democrats and the administration have come to a halt on Trump’s request. The White House did not offer any explanation to the request, announced to the world via Trump’s personal Twitter account, and where later he seemed to backtrack on the decision.
One of Trump’s large campaign points in 2016 was that he was a great negotiator, with which he credited the success of his reality television show “The Apprentice.” Since then, we have seen the first COVID-19 relief package passing, but negotiations for the second one now seem at least a month away.
CARES Act Expiration and Commercial Aviation
The first COVID-19 relief bill, the CARES Act, expired on October 1, leaving hundreds of thousands nationwide with the unsettling feeling of the possibility of losing their job. In the aviation industry, arguably the hardest hit by the pandemic, that means mass airline furloughs for tens of thousands of employees. The most notable example are the 32,000 American Airlines (AA) and United Airlines (UA) workers furloughed.
However, airlines are the most resilient companies as organizations go, including their Pilots and Crews. For example, after reaching an agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association, Mesa Airlines (YV) announced it would avoid employee furloughs in 2020.
In another example, after implementing no furloughs for nearly five-decade history, Southwest Airlines (WN) has sought to make concessions with labor unions for the first time. Thus, it is trying to avoid layoffs amid substantial losses due to the pandemic.
Now, with the election still four weeks away, the problem for companies without money can only swell, and it will be a long wait until the election. However, this political manouvering by POTUS, and whether he will backtrack or not, is something the US commercial aviation industry is poised to overcome.
UPDATE (4 pm EST): according to CNN, after a stimulus briefing at the White House, Trump now backs stand-alone aid for US airlines.
Featured image: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 holding on the north runway after landing at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Photo: formulanone.