WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) joined Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in introducing the Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020 to extend the airline worker Payroll Support Program (PSP) through March 2021. Without this critical assistance, airlines may be forced to lay off or furlough tens of thousands of workers. Mass layoffs could impact operations at the newly renovated Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), which served more than 26 million passengers last year alone.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Salt Lake City airport was booming, experiencing record growth in passengers,” Senator Romney said. “Through the CARES Act, Congress provided assistance to counter the devastating toll the pandemic took on our airport and the entire airline industry. However, additional relief is necessary as more than 80,000 pilots, flight attendants, and other airline workers face furloughs amidst the ongoing pandemic. Keeping airlines flying is essential to economic recovery for all of us. Our legislation would extend critical support to ensure that employees continue receiving paychecks and potentially avoid negative operational impacts on SLC Airport. I will also continue to push for a relief package which includes provisions to secure federal unemployment benefits, restart the Paycheck Protection Program, help parents with the expenses of childcare and homeschooling, and help our schools keep kids safe.”
The Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act would:
- Extend PSP through March 31, 2021;
- Provide $28 billion in assistance for passenger air carriers, cargo air carriers, and airline contractors;
- Preserve national air service;
- Include CARES Act taxpayer protections, including requirements that some of the assistance be paid back as loans with interest.
The Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act contains a technical correction to the CARES Act PSP to align airline payroll expense calculations for smaller air carriers with the exact standards and criteria applied to larger air carriers. The new PSP would also allow some airlines an opportunity to request payroll support based a different time window than was used under the CARES Act. This would ensure those passenger airlines that added jobs or increased worker wages and benefits during the later period would receive a more equitable amount of payroll support than they received under the first PSP.
Text of the legislation can be found here.