US Senate urged to carry hearings on airways’ use of COVID bailout funds
- FlyersRights calls for supervisory hearings with airline CEOs, employee representatives and passenger representatives.
- Airlines have received massive federal subsidies since 2020.
- The question arises as to whether airline taxpayers’ money has been misused.
FlyersRights President Paul Hudson called for US Senate Commerce Committee hearings with airline CEOs and employee and passenger representatives.
FlyersRights President Paul Hudson
Paul Hudson stated, “Airlines have received massive federal subsidies since 2020 to keep public air travel strong and reduce COVID infections. But the recent record-breaking cancellations, flight delays, and airline opposition to some CDC policies are questioning whether taxpayers’ money has been misused by the airline’s management.
U.S. airlines received $ 79 billion in rescue bills through three COVID-related bills in 2020-2021 to help them, their employees and the air travel industry survive the worst of the COVID pandemic. Congress intended to distribute this money to pilots, flight attendants and other airline and airport employees to ensure they get paid during the steeply declining demand period and to ensure that the airlines are able to meet the increased travel demand, as soon as the COVID-19 situation improves.
The airlines, especially American Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, have completely abandoned the American people. Throughout the summer, airlines have canceled hundreds of flights a day because of insufficient staff. On its worst day, Spirit Airlines canceled over half of its scheduled flights.
This is unacceptable, and Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Senate Trade Committee, sent a letter to airlines on the matter in July. FlyersRights.org met with their staff to discuss the issue and propose a solution to the recent airline abuse.
FlyersRights.org proposed committee oversight hearings to force Doug Parker, Gary Kelly, Ted Christie, and other airline CEOs to explain what they did with the COVID aid money and why their airlines failed to achieve what the law intended.
Passenger and employee representatives should also take part in the supervisory hearings. FlyersRights.org proposed a stimulus and social distancing plan that would have kept airlines profitable while operating at higher capacity during the pandemic and making air travel safer, all at a lower cost than the rescue packages.