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Senators Collins, Wicker Introduce Legislation to Provide Additional Relief to Air Transportation Sector

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, and Roger Wicker (R-MS), the Chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, introduced the Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020, legislation that would extend the airline worker Payroll Support Program (PSP) through March 2021.


“The pandemic has had a devastating toll on the aviation industry, putting many American jobs at risk.  The Payroll Support Program that was included in the CARES Act saved over 700,000 of these jobs.  Our legislation to extend this lifeline would help frontline employees to continue to receive a paycheck and require airlines to maintain flights to every community they serve,” said Senator Collins.  “As the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I am committed to ensuring that all facets of our transportation network, including buses, motorcoaches, passenger ferries, and public transportation, have the resources they need to survive the current economic crisis.”


“The CARES Act successfully saved thousands of jobs that support the airline industry and provided these businesses with some breathing space after the drastic drop in air travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Wicker.  “However, the market has not turned around as much as we had hoped, and additional relief is needed to prevent more than 60,000 aviation sector employees from losing their jobs beginning October 1.  This legislation would extend the critical Payroll Support Program to provide support for passenger air carriers, cargo air carriers, and aviation contractors.  It would also preserve nationwide air service by requiring airlines to maintain routes as a condition for receiving assistance.  All Americans deserve access to a strong national air transportation system.”


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;
  • $11 billion in new appropriations
  • $17.4 billion in funding repurposed from unspent CARES Act PSP funds and loans
  • 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. 


Earlier this month, Senators Collins and Jack Reed (D-RI) led a bipartisan group of 26 Senators in calling for the next COVID-19 relief package to include the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act of 2020, a bill they recently introduced.  This bipartisan legislation would authorize $10 billion in emergency economic relief funding grants for America’s bus, motorcoach and passenger ferry industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Click HERE to read the full text.



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