Durbin Discusses COVID-19 Relief Bill with United Airlines CEO

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke with United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz today about the COVID-19 pandemic’s continued impact on the airline industry and how the company is planning to use its federal relief funding to help workers and protect consumers during this unprecedented crisis. 

“I urged United Airlines to do everything it can to protect the jobs of employees that work for them during this unprecedented public health and economic crisis,” Durbin said. “United has a major hub at O’Hare International Airport and it’s critical for the airline to use this federal stimulus package in a way that to puts workers and consumers first.”

Last week, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which included $61 billion in federal grant and loan funding for the airline industry impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, despite remaining traveler destinations, Airline for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, reports that ticket cancellations among its airlines are outpacing new bookings. The latest Transportation Security Administration (TSA) throughput numbers from A4A continue to show a 92 percent drop from last year in the number of people traveling by air.  Flights at Chicago’s Midway Airport are down 53 percent and flights at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport are down 50 percent. A year ago, TSA throughput was just under 2.5 million people per day, and now it’s below 200,000 per day.