The US’ biggest airlines have begun to put their employees on unpaid leave as the wait for a new economic stimulus package goes on.
American Airlines and United Airlines said that they would place 32,000 workers on such arrangements amid gridlock at the US Capitol on a new deal.
American will furlough 19,000 employees, including some 1,600 pilots. More than 13,000 United employees will be on furlough, but not any pilots following an agreement reached this week.
Both carriers said that they stood ready to reverse the decision if a deal could be agreed.
U.S. airlines are operating about half their 2019 flying schedules and suffering a 68 per cent decline in passenger numbers.
Hopes were briefly raised last night when US President Donald Trump unveiled a new proposal worth $1.5 trillion.
Included in this is a $20bn extension of support for US airlines, which have already been given $25bn in state support.
The original sum, which was designed to protect jobs, ran out at midnight last night. Under the conditions of the package, airlines were required to keep staff on to receive money.
However, negotiations between the White House and the Democrats in Congress remain stuck.
The latter are demanding a larger package, worth up to $2.2bn, while the Trump administration is sticking to its guns.