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US stimulus includes airline contractors but industry awaits specifics

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Some airline contractors, including caterers, ground handlers and sanitation workers, will be able to avail of payroll relief under the bipartisan $2 trillion economic stimulus package agreed by the White House and Congress.

Joe Leader, who heads both the Airline Passenger Experience Association and the International Flight Services Association, tells Runway Girl Network: “In a moment of crisis, APEX/IFSA is proud that $3 billion in grant funding was included for airline contractors in the US Senate compromise bill. The $25 billion in commercial airline grants will make a huge difference in enabling airlines to keep employees during this unprecedented crisis.

“APEX/IFSA is awaiting clarification that we can provide to our members how to participate in US grants, loans, and small business administration support. We believe that this template of airline and supplier will be emulated around the globe as much as possible, but APEX/IFSA stands ready to support our global airlines and valued suppliers.”

The two associations, under Leader, called on the Trump Administration and Congressional leadership to include financial relief for airline suppliers, warning that without government support, thousands of jobs will be lost and many suppliers will not survive to be in a position to support the airline industry’s recovery. Contractors in the sector provide an array of products and services – from catering and ground handling to inflight entertainment. While certain workers are covered, it appears the broader commercial aviation supply chain has been largely left out in the cold under the bill. APEX/IFSA is seeking clarity from lawmakers.

“While there may be another US rally for support in the future,” says Leader, “we believe that our APEX/IFSA energies should now be applied to having support given to airlines and suppliers around the globe. As an example, we are turning now to more strongly engage with Airlines for Europe (A4E) and others in an aligned push.”

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