US Senate urged to Hold Hearings on Airlines’ Use of COVID Bailout Funds

  • How much money US Airlines recieved in covid “Bailout” money
  • Why airlines had to cancel so many flights during the pandemic

US airlines received over $79 billion in bailout money across three COVID-related bills in 2020-2021 to help them, their employees, and the air travel industry survive the worst of the COVID pandemic. FlyersRights President Paul Hudson called for US Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearings with airline CEOs plus labor and passenger representatives. Paul Hudson explained, “Airlines were given massive federal subsidies since 2020 to keep public air service strong and reduce COVID infections. But recent record-high cancellations, flight delays, plus airline opposition to some CDC guidelines call into question whether taxpayer money has been misused by airline management.”

Congress intended this money to go to pilots, flight attendants, and other airline and airport employees to ensure they were paid during the severely depressed demand period and to ensure that the airlines would have the capacity to meet the increased travel demand as soon as the COVID-19 situation improved. The airlines, particularly American Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, completely failed the American people. Throughout the summer, airlines have cancelled hundreds of flights per day because they did not have enough employees ready to go. On its worst day, Spirit Airlines cancelled over half of its scheduled flights.

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