Financial assistance for the airline industry should not include terms that allows the US government to receive ownership stakes in airlines, writes Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Doing so could lead to bankruptcy filings and cost workers thousands of jobs. Rather, he says, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin should state that warrants will not be a part of the conditions of airlines accepting aid.
Congress should not demand access to stocks from the airline industry as a part of the financial assistance terms, writes Ross Marchand of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. "It wouldn't take much for the government to become the majority owner of many of these airlines -- if [Treasury] Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin decides to use his newfound authority," says Marchand, who believes the nationalization of airlines would only further devastate carriers and fail to provide benefits for taxpayers.
Delta Flight Products, a wholly owned subsidiary whose usual mission is creating innovative aircraft interiors, is working with non-profit affiliate of the Georgia Institute of Technology to manufacture protective face shields for hospital workers, with plans to ship the first 6,000 to New York and Atlanta. "Our entire team is rallying around this effort - it's a meaningful way we can show our support for the health care workers working around the clock to protect us," Delta's Rick Salanitri said.
Attaching strings to payroll grants will force airlines to refuse them, leading to massive layoffs, jeopardizing the aviation system and causing financial hardship that will lead to "less competition, and more of the things consumers hate," writes Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. "This isn't a no-strings-attached corporate bailout for airlines," she said, as the money will go directly to employees.
Southwest Airlines will apply for federal payroll support grants to help its staff, CEO Gary Kelly said in his latest video update. He also said Southwest has offered complimentary shipping services for essential medical supplies, as well as helping partner hospitals move medical personnel to where they are needed.
Hawaiian Airlines' all-employee volunteer group, Team Kokua, has been partnering with different local organizations to serve the community, including Lanakila Meals on Wheels and the Hawaii Foodbank. "Hawaiian Airlines has always been there. They literally become family," said Clayton Arakawa, home delivery supervisor at Lanakila Meals on Wheels.
Southwest Airlines is developing solutions to allow cargo division employees to take calls from home. "It's something that's available for anybody shipping those critical things that need to move fast and have a little more volume than can be handled in the commercial network at the moment," Wally Devereaux, managing director of cargo and charters said.
Zoom meeting backgrounds available for free download from United Airlines' website target "Avgeeks" with photos of aircraft interiors and exteriors. Playful meeting attendees can appear to be seated in a first class cabin, an airport lounge or a cockpit.
As the coronavirus pandemic alters every facet of life and how industries around the globe operate, the aviation sector is trying to find its new normal. The Federal Aviation Administration has taken steps to address the heavily impacted operations of commercial carriers amid the coronavirus pandemic, and now, general aviation continues to ask for the same treatment as it provides vital services to the public and economy while fighting a worldwide crisis.
Reading Regional Airport/Carl A. Spaatz Field in Bern Township, Pa., is Quest Diagnostics' flight operations headquarters, and the airport is averaging about 30 flights each week to bring coronavirus tests and other samples to laboratories. Specimens are arriving at the airport from around the country and then transported to testing labs, the closest of which is a 47-minute flight to Teterboro, N.J.
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