Airlines like Texas-based American and Southwest are facing hard times as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Both received help from $50 billion in grants and loans from the federal stimulus bill, but more government help isn’t on the way, at least not before the November election. Now, workers are facing furloughs and pay cuts.
Kyle Arnold is an aviation writer for The Dallas Morning News. He told Texas Standard that American furloughed 17,500 workers and laid off 1,500 others. And Southwest is negotiating with workers’ unions to reduce pay by 10%. If it’s unsuccessful, he said they will consider furloughs, too.
But Southwest is also expanding, adding destinations like Palm Springs and Chicago O’Hare to try to attract customers wherever possible.
“What they’re really saying is that if we can’t get as many customers out of the destinations that we already serve, then we’re going to serve more destinations and try to get more customers because we have planes that are idled, we have pilots that are sitting on their hands right now,” Arnold said.
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– Whether airlines can expert help from a second stimulus bill
– How the pandemic differs from other crises like 9/11 that affected the air travel industry
– What it will take for the industry to recover