United Airlines chief: Virus impact 'much worse' than 9/11

United Airlines chief: Virus impact 'much worse' than 9/11
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United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz is telling top lawmakers that the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on his industry is "much worse" than that experienced from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"We unequivocally support prudent steps like these to keep the American people safe. But, these actions have also created a fast-moving, financial crisis unlike anything the U.S. airline industry has faced before," Munoz wrote in a letter first obtained by Politico.

"In fact, the financial impact of this crisis on our industry is much worse than the stark downturn that we saw in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks," he continued.

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United's top executive also noted that March is normally the airline's busiest month, but the company has so far flown 1 million fewer customers than usual. Munoz added that revenue projections for this month are $1.5 billion below March 2019 due to the significant drop in customers.

Many airlines like United have slashed their number of flights and restricted air travel in general, as the spread of the virus has continued worldwide. 

"On behalf of the nearly 100,000 airline professionals at United Airlines, we -- the leaders of the company’s management and organized labor unions -- have a simple message: please act quickly – this week – to protect our livelihoods," Munoz said in the letter.

It was sent to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinConservatives are outraged that Sarah Bloom Raskin actually believes in capitalism Suspect in Khashoggi murder arrested The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules MORE, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better Let's 'reimagine' political corruption Briahna Joy Gray discusses Pelosi's 2022 re-election announcement MORE (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyRhode Island state treasurer running for Langevin's seat in US House McConnell aims to sidestep GOP drama over Trump House Republicans bash Democrats' China competition bill MORE (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Actor John Krasinski films outside White House Biden's Supreme Court choice: A political promise, but also a matter of justice Let's 'reimagine' political corruption MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats sense opportunity with SCOTUS vacancy Schumer finds unity moment in Supreme Court fight Breyer retirement throws curveball into midterms MORE (D-N.Y.).

On Tuesday, Mnuchin met with Senate GOP members to discuss the details on the Trump administration's third legislative aid package aimed at combating the economic fallout from the virus.