President and CEO of 'Airlines for America' Issues Statement

WHY IT RATES: Head of ‘Airlines for America’ encapsulates the unprecedented effects of the past two weeks on the U.S. airline industry, calling the coronavirus’ impact worse than the aftermath of 9/11, and promising to do everything possible to preserve jobs for those who work in air travel and related fields. — Laurie Baratti, TravelPulse Associate Writer

Nicholas E. Calio, President and CEO of Airlines for America (A4A), issued the following statement on March 18, 2020:

We commend President Trump’s unwavering commitment to protecting the health and well-being of the American people and appreciate his efforts to support the U.S. airline industry. The President, Vice President, Secretary Mnuchin and Secretary Chao have expressed a deep understanding of the devastating economic harm that is directly impacting U.S. carriers as a result of government- and business-imposed travel restrictions as well as the fear generated from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

We very much appreciate the ongoing constructive conversations we are having with the White House and Congress. The economic impact on U.S. airlines, their employees, travelers and the shipping public is staggering. In the short span of two weeks, U.S. carriers – both passenger and cargo – have seen their positions of strong financial health deteriorate at an unprecedented and unsustainable pace. By all accounts, this situation is worse than the financial and operational impact caused by 9/11.

Before this current public health crisis, U.S. airlines were transporting a record 2.5 million passengers and 58,000 tons of cargo each day. Today, carriers are burning through cash as cancellations far outpace new bookings for U.S. carriers, planes are only 20-30% full and new bookings are implying 70-80 percent declines in traffic even as airlines make dramatic cuts in capacity – and this is getting worse each day with no end in sight.

Amid this crisis, the U.S. airline industry is doing everything possible to preserve the 750,000 jobs of hard-working men and women who are directly employed by U.S. airlines, including pilots, flight attendants, gate agents and mechanics, as well as the 10 million jobs supported by the industry. Our employees are the backbone of the industry and our greatest resource.

U.S. airlines are grateful to the President, Vice President, Sec. Mnuchin and Sec. Chao for their ongoing support as we work to protect our employees, keep commerce moving and continue flying people and products across the globe.

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SOURCE: Airlines for America press release.

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