The Biden administration is offering $482 million to aviation industry manufacturers to help them avert job or pay cuts in the pandemic. The taxpayer-funded relief will cover up to half of the payroll costs at 313 companies, according to the Transportation Department, which said it will help save up to 22,500 jobs.
Air travel plummeted due to the spread of COVID-19. The Delta variant has led to elevated cancellations and diminished travel in recent months. More than 100,000 aerospace jobs have been lost in an industry that had employed about 2.2 million people, according to the Transportation Department.
The largest recipient of the fund, announced on September 13, is Spirit Aerosystems, a Boeing supplier based in Kansas, which stands to get $75.5 million that the government says will help protect 3,214 jobs. Parker-Hannifin Corp of Ohio, which makes hydraulic systems for planes, will get $39.7 million.
The avionics unit of Japan's Panasonic, based in California, will get $25.8 million, and several US subsidiaries of France's Safran SA will get $24.8 million. Money for the aerospace companies is coming from the $1.9-trillion package approved by US Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in March.
Repeat of airlines bailout
The relief is similar to a much larger aid programme for US airlines, which have received $54 billion in the past year and a half. The airlines also agreed not to furlough any workers, but they eliminated tens of thousands of jobs anyway by offering incentives for employees to quit or retire early.
Critics labelled the airline aid a bailout that amounted to several hundred thousand dollars for each job that was spared; by some estimates, 75,000 jobs may have been spared. Defenders such as American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said that without the government's help, the airlines would have been forced to shut down when traffic fell to levels not seen since the 1950s.
The Federal Aviation Administration, part of the Transportation Department, recently awarded $100 million to aerospace companies including Boeing, General Electric's aviation division and jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney to make planes less polluting and quieter.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)