American, United Airlines furloughs will not affect local airport

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – 32 thousand airline workers around the country have been furloughed after inaction on Capitol Hill. United and American Airlines made the decision after congressional leaders and the Trump administration could not figure out a way to extend the CARES Act.

The coronavirus-related measure allowed airlines to borrow billions of dollars from the federal government to ensure that employees were not furloughed.

Fly Corps Aviation — one of very few flight schools in Savannah — says business has not slowed down much during the course of the pandemic. News of furloughs makes the future more uncertain.

“Everything is on hold right now,” said Assistant Chief Flight Instructor Derek Bradley. “I’m fortunate to be able to have a job in the aviation industry. My passion is flying and I’m able to continue that.”

When it comes to commercial flights, data from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shows that just over 630 thousand people went through a checkpoint yesterday at airports around the country. This time last year, that number was 2.1 million.

Savannah Hilton Head International Airport is also feeling those effects. According to a representative for the airport, travel is down 60 percent, compared to last year.

That representative says the airport will not be affected by recent furloughs. She says employees have been preparing and dealing with changing flight schedules since the pandemic began.

Others say those effects have yet to be seen.

“Nobody has the answers. This is unprecedented, so just [be] patient, we have to wait and see. I’m not going to hold my breath for any one thing,” said Bradley.

So far, Allegiant and Delta Airlines have not announced any pandemic-related furloughs.

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