Washington, DC, July 17, 2020. The Regional Airline Association (RAA) today voiced strong support for a clean extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP) within the CARES Act, which otherwise stands to expire on September 30, 2020.
The Payroll Support Program, which provided payments to commercial airlines to cover a portion of their employee payroll costs through September 30, presented a lifeline for airline employees who would otherwise have faced furlough under COVID-19’s unprecedented air travel demand shock. While airlines and policymakers alike expected demand to rebound within that timeframe, that has not happened, and airlines of all sizes have begun signaling potential layoffs and furloughs of nearly 100,000 airline workers.
RAA President & CEO Faye Malarkey Black noted: “The airline industry suffered a sudden-stop revenue loss under COVID-19, which was nothing short of stunning.” Black continued: “Enormous depression of demand is still our reality today, leaving regional airlines with sharply-reduced flying opportunities during the persistent demand trough.” Black concluded: “We can and will recover, however, a clean extension of PSP support will help our workforce today so regional airlines can maintain a ready status to keep communities connected tomorrow.”
In addition to extending the Payroll Support Program, RAA has asked Congress to address troublesome disparities between regional airlines’ and larger carriers’ access to previously-enacted CARES grants and loans—where Treasury-imposed collateral requirements continue to put smaller airlines and their employees at risk. RAA also requested additional supports to small communities through the Essential Air Service program and a temporary waiver of the 2012-enacted restriction barring new communities from qualifying for Essential Air Service.
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. In the United States, regional airlines operate 41% of scheduled passenger flights and provide the only source of scheduled air service to 63% of the nation’s airports.
Notably, regional airlines provide over 70% of the air service in these states: South Dakota (85%), Mississippi (77%), Montana (78%), Maine (77%), Kansas (78%), Alabama (76%), Iowa (76%), West Virginia (92%), North Dakota (87%), Alaska (88%), Arkansas (83%), Idaho (75%), Nebraska (90%), Vermont (77%) and Wyoming (78%). Additionally, regional airlines provide over half of the air service in the following states: 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%).
Air service to airports served exclusively by regional airlines drove $134 billion in U.S. economic activity last year, created 1 million jobs and generated a conservative $36 billion in wages and tax revenues for local communities.