American Airlines cancels 13,000 furloughs after stimulus package passes

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American Airlines canceled employee furloughs on Wednesday when the House passed the COVID-19 relief package that provided payroll support for the industry.

In a memo to employees, CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said the notices 13,000 employees received last month warning about furloughs are “happily canceled — you can tear them up!”

Airlines got a $15 billion boost and an extension of the Payroll Support Program, which was a key provision in last spring’s CARES Act that was set to expire April 1. 

Employers were preparing for another round of layoffs, especially after President Biden’s original proposal didn’t include funds for airlines. House Democrats added it in the package last month.

Airlines warned that tens of thousands of employees overall could be furlough without an extension. 

The package passed Wednesday will extend the program through Sept. 30 and give $14 billion to support workers of air carriers and $1 billion for workers of eligible contractors.

“Since the start of the pandemic, lawmakers from both parties have recognized the essential work each of you undertakes, the critical infrastructure the American team provides to our country and the world, and the economic risks of a weakened U.S. airline industry,” Parker and Isom wrote. 

“We are grateful for the support of our government leaders and their continued acknowledge of all you do,” they added.

Parker and Isom added that another bright spot for the American Airlines team is the distribution of vaccinations at work locations, like Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

“If you see your local Congressional representative on a flight, be sure to thank her or him for their work this past year and for recognizing the noble work you all do every day,” they wrote.

Tags air travel Airlines Business Coronavirus economy Furloughs Joe Biden relief bill
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