In the letter below, Ed Bastian and other top airline CEOs asked Saturday that Congress move quickly on behalf of 750,000 workers whose jobs are at risk due to this unprecedented crisis.
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March 21, 2020

Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:

On behalf of 750,000 airline professionals and our nation’s airlines, we respectfully request Congress to continue to move expeditiously to pass a bipartisan proposal that includes a combination of worker payroll protection grants, loans and loan guarantees and tax measures.

Time is running out. The worker payroll protection grants are critical to saving the jobs of our employees. Over the past week we have communicated to our employees the dire situation we are in and the potential impacts on them if our government doesn’t step up to help.

We are doing our part. Over the past decade we have reinvested over 73 percent of our operating profits back into our people and product, creating good paying jobs at a rate that has outpaced other sectors. As a result of a global pandemic and government actions to contain it, we are now undertaking over $30 billion of self-help measures, including asking our employees to take voluntary unpaid time off, parking planes and trying to obtain financing in today’s credit market. Those markets are closing up. Given the extreme nature of this situation, we respectfully urge Congress not to pursue opportunistic measures that will hurt, not help our ability to recover. Unless worker payroll protection grants are passed immediately, many of us will be forced to take draconian measures such as furloughs.

If Congress is able to reach a bipartisan agreement on these three critical elements, airlines are committed to ensuring that:

  • If worker payroll protection grants are enacted, equaling at least $29 billion, participating passenger and cargo air carriers will not furlough employees or conduct reductions in force through August 31, 2020.
  • If loans and/or loan guarantees are enacted, equaling at least $29 billion, participating passenger and cargo air carriers commit to:
  1. Placing limits on executive compensation;
  2. Eliminating stock buy backs over the life of the loans; and
  3. Eliminating stock dividends for the life of the loans.

The breadth and immediacy of the need to act cannot be overstated. It is urgent and unprecedented.

We are united as an industry and speaking with one voice. We urge you to swiftly pass a bipartisan bill with worker payroll protections to ensure that we can save the jobs of our 750,000 airline professionals who are coming to work every day to serve the traveling and shipping public.

Thank you,

Airline ceos
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