Airlines for America Advocates for Financial Assistance

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Airlines for America (A4A), an industry trade organization that advocates on behalf of leading U.S. airlines, both passenger and cargo carriers, has issued a statement on COVID-19 and asked for more than $50 billion in assistance. A4A works collaboratively with industry stakeholders, federal agencies, the Administration, Congress, labor and other groups to improve aviation for the traveling and shipping public.

CAE cabin crew. Image credit: CAE

The statement from A4A reads:

“This is an extremely fluid situation that is evolvingrapidly. The rapid spread of COVID-19, along with the government andbusiness-imposed restrictions on air travel, are having an unprecedented anddebilitating impact on U.S. airlines. Carriers have seen a dramatic decline indemand, which is getting worse by the day. Carriers have been forced to removeflights from their schedule and make historic capacity cuts. Cancelations arespiking, and for U.S. carriers those cancelations are outpacing new bookings.The economic impact on U.S. airlines, their employees, travelers and theshipping public is staggering. This crisis hit a previously robust, healthyindustry at lightning speed and we remain concerned that the impacts of thiscrisis will continue to worsen.

“U.S. carriers are in need of immediate assistance as thecurrent economic environment is simply not sustainable. This is compounded bythe fact that the crisis does not appear to have an end in sight. In order tocombat this unprecedented economic downfall, A4A is recommending the followingcombination of programs to provide immediate and medium to long-term assistanceto the U.S. airline industry and protect their employees: 1) grants; 2) loans;and 3) tax relief.

“U.S. airlines are incontinuous conversations with the Administration, Congress and labor unions inan effort to secure financial assistance from the federal government to protectand preserve the 750,000 jobs of hardworking men and women who are directlyemployed by U.S. airlines, as well the 10 million jobs supported by the airlineindustry. This includes pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, gate agents,ticket agents, parking attendants and many more. Our employees are truly thebackbone of the U.S. airline industry and our greatest resource, and U.S.carriers are doing everything in their power to protect their livelihood.”

A4A has asked for grants to U.S. Part 121 passenger air carriers in the aggregate amount of $25 billion to compensate for reduced liquidity (net of financing) – from December 31, 2019, through December 31, 2020. Grants have also been asked for U.S. Part 121 cargo air carriers in the aggregate amount of $4B to compensate for reduced liquidity (net of financing) for the same time frame.

In regards to loans, A4A has asked for a voluntary liquidityfacility program in an aggregate amount up to $25 billion pursuant to which theFederal Reserve would purchase financial instruments from or provide zerointerest unsecured loans or zero interest unsecured loan guarantees to U.S.Part 121 passenger air carriers, as well as an aggregate amount of up to $4billion to U.S. Part 121 cargo air carriers.

In addition, the company has asked for a rebate to U.S. Part 121 air carriers in the amount of federal excise taxes paid into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) that have been remitted to the U.S. Government beginning January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020. A4A has also asked for a temporary aviation excise tax repeal of all the federal excise taxes on Part 121 air carriers, including those taxes on tickets, cargo and fuel through December 31, 2021, subject to a trigger for a further extension beyond 2021 dependent upon economic circumstances.

“This is a today problem, not a tomorrow problem. Itrequires urgent action,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio.


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