Southwest Airlines says it won’t furlough workers after Trump signed relief bill

Greg Nash

Southwest Airlines says it won’t furlough any employees after the extension of payroll support included in the coronavirus relief package that President Trump signed on Sunday. 

U.S. airlines received $15 billion in the $900 billion package, which extended the Payroll Support Program (PSP) for the industry. Under the terms of the aid, airlines have to keep all their employees on payroll through March 31 and will have to call back any who were furloughed in October.

“The new law will provide payroll support for all Southwest Employees through March 31, 2021. Given this, we currently do not anticipate the need to conduct any furloughs or pay cuts next year,” CEO Gary Kelly told employees on Monday. 

PSP was a key provision from last spring’s CARES Act and prevented airlines from furloughs until October. Since then, American Airlines and United Airlines have furloughed 32,000 employees and Southwest warned in December that 6,800 workers were facing possible furlough if the government did not act.

Southwest has never had layoffs since it was founded 50 years ago and is among the most profitable major U.S. airlines.

Kelly thanked Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, for their work to secure the funds for airlines. He also acknowledged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for their work to pass the package.

“I need to stress that dozens of government leaders are worthy of praise; however, these individuals deserve individual recognition,” he said.

Tags Airlines Aviation Coronavirus coronavirus aid coronavirus relief coronavirus stimulus Donald Trump Furlough Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Peter DeFazio Roger Wicker southwest airlines Steven Mnuchin Susan Collins

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