AIRLINE INDUSTRY OFFICIAL DEFENDS RESPONSE TO PANDEMIC
Techlife News|Techlife News #468
The airline industry has been shaken to its core by the pandemic, pushing some foreign carriers into bankruptcy and driving a few small U.S. ones out of business.

Leaders of the large airlines were stunned when the CEO of Boeing predicted during a nationally televised interview that some of them would fail too.

Nicholas Calio is adamant that won’t happen. Calio is a longtime Washington hand who served in two White Houses, and he is now the president and CEO of Airlines for America, or A4A, a trade group consisting of the largest U.S. passenger and cargo airlines.

These days, Calio’s time is taken up lobbying for billions of dollars in taxpayer relief that he says is necessary if the airlines are to remain strong enough to help the nation recover from the pandemic-caused economic downturn.

The deadline for Congress and the Trump administration to approve that aid and avoid tens of thousands of furloughs was said repeatedly to be Sept. 30. That turns out to have been a moving target. American Airlines and United Airlines went ahead and furloughed 32,000 workers between them, but both say it’s not yet too late — they could reverse those cuts and bring people back to work if Republicans and Democrats in Washington can agree on a pandemic-relief measure.

The airlines are looking for second helpings. In March, Congress and the White House gave them $25 billion plus access to another $25 billion in low-interest loans. Critics say giving them $25 billion more now is just another bailout. The airlines, they say, should have saved more money when they were making record profits instead of spending heavily to buy back their own stock, a strategy that helped shareholders.

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