Airline industry still ‘right in the middle’ of coronavirus crisis: Association of Flight Attendants president

Flight attendants union calls on Congress to prevent more aviation job cuts

Insight from Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants.

As U.S. businesses begin to climb out of the coronavirus pandemic ruins, the travel and airline industries are still struggling to lift off.

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Association of Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends Weekend” that the return is “just not happening” as Americans are still hesitant to fly.

“The airline industry is still right in the middle of this crisis,” she said. “And what the industry has done is put in place required mask policies, changed their cleaning procedures, talked about [how] the air filtration is safer than in an office building. They've done a lot of things to try to convince people, but it's just not happening. So people are choosing to drive rather than fly.”

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Nelson said the numbers from this weekend indicate that business is only reaching half of what they were last year and overall revenue is down 75%.

Melaku Gebermariam uses an electrostatic sprayer to disinfect the inside of a Delta Airplane between flights on July 22, 2020, at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Nathan Ellgren)

The industry has been asking for continued relief from Congress, Nelson said, since the large difference in revenue is expected to last through the end of the year.

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“We are asking Congress to continue the package that was put in place in March to get money directly to the workers on the front lines,” she said. “That's what the money for the airlines went to. [It] was to keep us in our jobs, connected to our health care and then ready to lift the industry again.”

Nelson said there’s a “huge bipartisan majority” who support the continuance of relief for the airlines, with more than 80 senators and the White House signaling help.

“750,000 jobs in the airline industry support 11 million jobs in the economy,” she said. “We spend back into the economy. So it's so important to support these jobs, keep the industry intact, keep the service to all of our communities during the pandemic."

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