With passage of the $1.9 trillion covid relief package, airlines are breathing a little easier as it includes more aid to airlines which are struggling to stay in the air. Both American Airlines and United Airlines were set to lay off about 27,000 workers soon, both had previously sent out WARN notices to affected employees. American CEO Doug Parker happily said employee who received a WARN notice can “tear up” their notices. Both airlines have released statements saying they will not be laying those workers off.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants said “For Flight Attendants and other aviation workers this bill passage means continuing the historic Workers First Payroll Support Program that we achieved in the CARES Act a year ago. Aviation workers will receive a paycheck and healthcare through September, and stay current on our certifications so we’re in place to meet demand as vaccinations are readily available and travel returns to the skies.”
Airlines have begun to recently see an increase in bookings as news spreads that most or all Americans will have access to the vaccine by May and that more people in the United States have now been vaccinated than the number of people that have Covid-19. Of the 40% of Americans who said they will wait to get the vaccine or won’t get it at all, roughly 56% have gotten or now say they will get the vaccine. According to Mimi Richards, a public health official with Los Angels County, those combined with people who are ok with getting a vaccine could give us enough vaccinated people to reach herd immunity. “It’s never been about making sure everyone takes the vaccine, we always knew some would refuse, it’s been about getting enough to take it that we reach herd immunity so that those who refuse only account for less than 25% of the adult population.”
So far no word yet if Airlines will require employees to be vaccinated. United CEO Scott Kirby previously called for employees to be vaccinated but also said it would only be effective if most other large companies did the same.