Flyers, industry expert discuss outlook for airlines

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 10:52 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Wednesday’s news that American and United Airlines plan to furlough a combined 32,000 workers could be the beginning of massive job cuts in the airline industry.

Airline and labor unions asked Congress for $25 billion to help keep workers on the job through March, but the White House and Congress haven’t reached an agreement on the next round of economic aid.

Wednesday, Eyewitness news spoke with flyers and an airline industry expert about what this could mean if the airlines don’t get the money. The Payroll Support Program -- a part of the CARES Act -- is helping to pay airline workers' wages, salaries and benefits now, but the assistance stops if Congress doesn’t extend the financial assistance.

“The CEOs of all the companies are saying, ‘hey, we need money,’” Emeritus Professor Dean Headley in Wichita State’s W. Frank Barton School of Business

With Congress yet to make a decision, layoffs are looming.

“As of October 1, it’s been said that about 100,000 people will be furloughed in the airline industry. That only means really one thing, less flights and less availability,” Headley said.

Passengers will notice, he said.

“They will have to cut routes, so it would make it harder to get where you wanna go. You’ll have to figure out other means or figure out something else,” airline traveler Derald Winger said.

Experts say if you feel comfortable traveling by air, now is a good time to do it with ticket prices down due to the pandemic.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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