On February 10, 2021, the United States House Committee will meet to discuss a $14 billion plan to extend payroll assistance to airlines.

The US lawmakers will be considering extending the support to the airlines so they can keep paying their workers until September 30, 2021. If the plan is confirmed, the airlines would receive $14 billion for payroll support.

The news comes after American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) said on February 3, 2021, it will send furlough notices to about 13,000 employees as a second round of government’s payroll aid is set to expire in March 2021. “Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a situation similar to much of 2020,” said American Airlines CEO Doug Parker. “We fully believed that we would be looking at a summer schedule where we’d fly all of our airplanes and need the full strength of our team. Regrettably, that is no longer the case.”

On January 29, 2021, United Airlines also sent furlough warnings to 14,000 staff members.

On January 28, 2021, the head of Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), representing 20 airlines’ workers, also urged Congress to extend the financial support program for airlines in the United States as passenger demand remains low due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Congress has to act fast for real relief. The emergency relief that came late in December was critical, but it was just ‘a down payment,’ a ‘bridge to real relief”,” said the president of AFA, Sara Nelson.

In December 2020, the US airlines received a $15 billion state aid that helped the carriers to recall furloughed workers and pay the employee wages and benefits, avoiding layoffs until March 31, 2021. After receiving the aid, the airlines called back more than 32,000 workers who were furloughed in October 2020.

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The head of the US airline union urged Congress to extend the financial support program.