Around 32,000 employees, who were furloughed a few months ago, are being called back by various airlines in the US. This is being done to claim the $15 billion for passenger flights of the $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package.
Airlines need to keep employees on the payroll at least through March 2021 and resume flight operations for certain routes. The process is underway already, even though it hasn’t been signed by the President of the United States yet.
The furloughed employees include flight attendants, mechanics and pilots. This will further require restoring security clearances with workers being up to date on federal training. Airlines will also have to ensure they clear the furlough mitigation programmes. This includes no payment guaranteed in return for keeping medical benefits. The bill mentions backpay from December 1 onwards, with no dividend payments or compensations.
The highest job cuts took place at American Airlines and United Airlines with their $25 billion grants and loans running out by September. Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines managed to bypass furloughs through voluntary retirement schemes, buyouts and temporary unpaid leave.
The bill mentions that the airlines have to call back every furloughed employee who had a permanent position. However, the airline companies are not very optimistic of the passenger count going up until the vaccine reaches everyone. So, they have warned employees that the rehiring will be temporary until the stimulus bill is actually stamped and approved.
American carriers are losing more than $180 million every day in December alone, with their losses before tax deductions standing at more than $36 billion in September. Bookings are still low and revenue will continue to be weak as the coronavirus cases keep rising.