Thousands of airline employees have been laid off Thursday after the billions of dollars in CARES Act funding expired Wednesday at midnight.
In March, President Trump signed the CARES Act into action, which created billions of dollars in funding that helped struggling airlines stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. That funding expired on September 30 at midnight and no new funding was made available in time to save the current state of the industry.
Many of the commercial airlines have released statements saying thousands of workers have been notified they are being laid off or furloughed with more notices to come this week, the airlines have said that they simply cannot keep staff when planes are not in the air.
Transport Workers Union President Dale Danker says hundreds of the employees that have already been furloughed and many of them that will soon be laid off are from Tulsa.
“We thought we were going to be able to avoid this because air traffic was on the uprise, it feels like it’s almost flatlined now, and it’s frustrating because I have to wonder when it’s going to come back,” Danker said.
Danker said it is heartbreaking to know that many of these employees uprooted their families and their lives to move to Tulsa for the job opportunity just to be laid off within a year or two of being hired.
According to Danker, layoffs like these happen every 20 years or so for one reason or another, but COVID-19 presents different challenges since there is no specific date when it comes to people willing to flying again.