This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
The U.S. Senate Aerospace Caucus co-chairs introduced a bipartisan bill that would provide for federal assistance to help aviation manufacturers maintain their employment levels during the Covid-19 pandemic. Kansas Republican Jerry Moran and Virginia Democrat Mark Warner unveiled the measure, S.3705, this week to create private-public partnerships to preserve jobs of employees that otherwise would be at risk for furlough or layoff.
Under the bill, the government would cover up to half of the salaries of the "at-risk" workers. Participating companies must demonstrate that these workers would be in danger of losing their jobs, must agree to pay for at least half of their compensation, and must keep covered workers on the payroll. Compensation assistance is limited to 25 percent of the workforce.
“The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a drastic decline in air travel, and as a result, aviation manufacturing has experienced significant financial losses resulting in widespread layoffs,” Moran said. “This legislation would create a program to temporarily support aviation manufacturing in order to prevent more layoffs and allow the industry to make a faster recovery once this crisis has passed.”
“This cost-sharing public-private partnership is an important step to support the aviation manufacturing, repair, and supply chain workforce,” added Warner, stressing that the aerospace industry is essential to Virginia and the nation.
Designed to be a temporary measure, lasting up to a year, the program has garnered strong backing from the manufacturing sector.
“The general aviation manufacturing and maintenance industry has been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic," said Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, calling the bill an “innovative and constructive approach.”
The bill offers a common-sense plan, agreed Eric Fanning, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association. “Temporary and targeted assistance is needed to help save these jobs. The private-public investment envisioned in this bill will provide such support by helping to keep at-risk employees on payroll, while also helping to unburden state unemployment programs.”