Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi asks airline companies to hold off furloughs with more aid ‘imminent’

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday pledged additional payroll support for airlines and asked them to pause the tens of thousands of job cuts, sending shares in major U.S. carriers higher.

Pelosi’s comments come a day after airlines started furloughing around 35,000 workers after the terms of a $25 billion federal payroll support package passed in March expired. That aid, supposed to help airlines cope with a decline in bookings due to the coronavirus crisis, prohibited job cuts until October 1.

Airlines have pleaded with lawmakers and the White House in the recent times for $25 billion more to preserve jobs until March after a major recovery in travel failed to materialize over the summer.

Shares of American Airlines, which started furloughing 19,000 workers by Thursday, more than any U.S. airline, increased over 3 percent right after Pelosi’s statement. United Airlines shares increased by over 2 percent. The Chicago-based carrier announced over 13,000 furloughs this week.

The two airlines make up the huge majority of the planned furloughs and informed workers that they would reverse course if Congress authorizes the additional $25 billion in payroll support.

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