American Airlines said Wednesday that it will begin furloughs of 19,000 workers Thursday but will reverse course if Congress reaches a deal on a new coronavirus relief package in the days ahead.

Under a relief package Congress passed earlier in the year, the industry received $25 billion in aid with the condition that they cut no jobs before Oct. 1. In a statement Wednesday, CEO Doug Parker said he spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier in the day and that negotiations are ongoing on a deal that would include an extension of the aid. Congressional leaders are also in talks to pass a separate extension, he said.

“Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that any of these efforts will come to fruition. However, in an effort to encourage cooperation and keep hope alive or our team, I informed the Secretary that if these efforts to extend [the Payroll Support Program] are successful over the next few days, we will reverse our furlough processes and recall any impacted team members,” he said.

“I am extremely sorry we have reached this outcome. It is not what you all deserve. It is a privilege to advocate on behalf of the hardworking aviation professionals at American and throughout the industry, and you have my assurance that we will continue to do so in the days ahead,” he added. “Please keep contacting your elected officials about the importance of reaching an agreement that will extend PSP. We are not done fighting.”

Airlines have spent months lobbying for additional aid as a rebound in demand failed to materialize.

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