Airline workers in Oklahoma could get some help soon.
Another batch of federal money is heading to the nation's airline industry, as companies continue to struggle with fewer travelers. The bipartisan COVID relief bill signed by President Trump provides $15 billion for U.S. airline companies. American Airlines says they are grateful lawmakers included an extension of the payroll support program.. which is allowing them to bring furloughed staff back to work. The $15 billion set aside in the $900 billion package is the second round of federal aid this year for the country's airline companies.
Elizabeth Osburn with the Tulsa Regional Chamber says it has more impact here in Tulsa than it may seem.
"I think when folks hear this, they just think the major airlines. We always remember at the Tulsa Chamber that we have the American Airlines maintenance base here in our region, and they employ hundreds and hundreds of Oklahomans," Osburn said.
A couple of months ago, American Airlines had to furlough 19,000 workers across the U.S. because of the pandemic. It included 200 maintenance workers in Tulsa. The company says this new funding will allow those employees to return and secure those positions until at least March.
"American Airlines had announced a major expansion last spring, just as the pandemic was starting to hit Oklahoma, and so the fact that this relief bill is helping them to recall employees that had been let go, and continue on with this major expansion, we see that that's an immediate impact from the bill," Osburn said.
The company says the aid from the relief bill will let them resume travel to cities and towns that rely on American Airlines.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker says "we are prepared to work as hard as ever as we continue to care for our customers, provide vital air service to communities across the country and keep our country moving toward an eventual recovery from this pandemic."