U.S. airlines prepare employee recalls as relief nears; United calls them 'temporary'

By Tracy Rucinski and David Shepardson
CHICAGO / WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American Airlines and United Airlines said Monday they are preparing to call back tens of thousands of workers on leave as they seek legislature approval for a new $ 15 billion wage subsidy under a more comprehensive COVID-19 aid package was waiting.
However, in an employee statement, United executives warned that the recall will be "temporary" as demand for travel remains depressed. The relief would cover employees' wages and salaries until March 31, 2021.
"The truth is we don't see anything in the data that shows a huge difference in bookings over the next few months," said CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart in the memo released by United.
Grappling with a sharp drop in demand for travel amid the pandemic, Americans and United put more than 32,000 workers on leave in October when the initial $ 25 billion to cover flight workers' six-month salaries expired.
The House and Senate wanted to pass a non-partisan coronavirus aid package worth $ 900 billion before the end of the day.
The $ 15 billion budget for airlines requires all workers on leave to be recalled and receive their full salary between December 1 and March 31, 2021.
"We're already starting to work out the details of how we're going to bring the team members back, but we're not over the finish line yet," said US CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom in a memo, hoping the staff would do so Receive paychecks by December 24th.
The terms of the new aid program mirror the original package that Congress passed in March. Larger airlines have had to repay 30% of the wage subsidies over time and offer the state arrest warrants.
In addition, airlines must resume flights to some routes that were stopped after the first package expired and give the Minister of Transport until March 1, 2022 power to require flights to small and remote communities that the airlines served before the pandemic.
(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski and David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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