But that won’t be possible if workers are laid off or furloughed indefinitely. Federal law requires ongoing training, licensing, and security clearances for most aviation workers—including flight attendants, pilots, and mechanics, but also airport-security workers and those who clean and service the planes and terminals. If workers are laid off, and those clearances and qualifications lapse, it could take months or even years to return to full capacity, creating a bottleneck that will cut off economic recovery for other industries long after the threat from COVID-19 has passed.
Washington is preparing to step in. But no-strings-attached corporate bailouts won’t help workers today, and they will slow down our recovery when the immediate crisis passes.
When an accident occurs in aviation, our industry, our unions, and our government work together to stop it from happening again. That’s what we need to do now—with a people-first model.
It starts with our jobs.