Washington, DC, August 24, 2020. Media contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Regional Airline Association released a statement today acknowledging a communication by member airline ExpressJet, indicating ExpressJet would accelerate its previously announced wind-down plan to September 30. ExpressJet employed 2,800 individuals and served more than 100 airports in North America.
The Administration and Congress went into recess with a giant question mark hovering over whether the CARES Act Payroll Support Program (PSP) will be extended. The PSP program is a critical pass-through program that has helped to keep airline employees on payroll, mitigated the economic harm associated with mass furloughs and assured the ready-status of workers so that airlines can maintain air service to communities large and small as our nation recovers. Unfortunately, that relief expires on September 30, although the pandemic rages on. Air carriers of all sizes are warning of unavoidable employee layoffs and air service cuts without an extension.
“By extending the baseline PSP program, Congress can put more time on the clock for demand to return, and more time on the clock for airlines to plan and respond to the pandemic’s impact on travel as it continues to evolve,” stated Faye Malarkey Black, RAA President and CEO. “In this way, extending the program does more than delay furloughs, but rather continues to reduce the number of furloughs the industry will ultimately need to make.”
ExpressJet is not the first, second, or third airline to announce a wind-down during the severe, extended air travel demand trough associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. RAA cautioned that more airlines, tens of thousands of workers, and hundreds of communities exclusively served by regional airlines are at risk, until policymakers return and get serious about negotiating sound policy in support of aviation workers during what has become the biggest health and economic crisis of our lifetime.
“Our hearts go out to our friends at ExpressJet and RAA will continue to support them through this difficult time,” continued Black, concluding: “There is a point of no return for businesses like airlines, when it comes to complex decisions involving thousands of workers. Policymakers must act quickly to extend workforce support before it is too late for tens of thousands more aviation workers.”
The Regional Airline Association (RAA) provides a unified voice of advocacy for North American regional airlines aimed at promoting a safe, reliable and strong regional airline industry. RAA serves as an important support network connecting regional airlines and industry business partners. In the United States, regional airlines operate 41% of scheduled passenger flights and provide the only source of scheduled air service to 66% of the nation’s airports. Regional airlines provide 75% or more of the air service in Alabama (76%), Alaska (88%), Arkansas (83%), Idaho (75%), Iowa (76%), Kansas (78%), Maine (77%), Mississippi (77%), Montana (78%), Nebraska (90%), North Dakota (87%), South Dakota (85%), Vermont (77%), West Virginia (92%), and Wyoming (78%). Regional airlines provide half or more of the air service in Indiana (61%), Kentucky (67%), Michigan (57%), New Hampshire (61%), New Mexico (53%), North Carolina (54%), Ohio (58%), Oklahoma (51%), Oregon (50%), Pennsylvania (53%), Rhode Island (54%), South Carolina (54%), Tennessee (47%), Virginia (58%) and Wisconsin (61%).