United Airlines CEO warns economic woes will get worse without vaccine, new round of stimulus - Fox Business

As the deadline looms for layoffs to begin across the airline industry, Congress remains at a stalemate over a new round of coronavirus stimulus.

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United CEO Scott Kirby said Sunday that while some industries of the economy have been able to recover, “anything to do with leisure, hospitality, meeting, convention services [and] restaurants are all hurting, and frankly, are near depression levels.”

“It was a remarkable bipartisan response really to rescue not just the aviation industry, but the whole economy back in March, an unprecedented bipartisan response,” Kirby said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “But this is lasting longer and is deeper than most people thought back then. And our revenue, we just said, is going to be down 85% in the third quarter. And in a world like that, United Airlines and others come Oct. 1, without an extension of the CARES Act … is going to be forced to lay off employees just to survive.”

He explained that business travel is “almost nonexistent” while leisure travel is “down significantly from where it was before.” As for international travel, United’s revenue was down 96% year-over-year for the second quarter and continues to take a hit as coronavirus restrictions keep borders closed.

AIRLINES, UNIONS RUNNING OUT OF TIME TO GET MORE FEDERAL AID

Kirby said that demand for air travel shows no sign of rebounding anytime soon without people feeling safe around each other.

“That’s going to take a vaccine, and that’s just the reality,” Kirby said. “Some businesses can recover earlier, but in aviation and all the industries that we support, it’s going to take longer.”

While the airline has gone to the private market for roughly $18
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