As an industry, airlines are essential to our domestic and international way of life in the United States. Our economy depends on the ability to move about the country and the world freely, quickly and efficiently. The COVID-19 virus outbreak has made us all rethink how and why we use this amazing system of air travel. This essential travel-only request from our national and local officials is certainly a prudent part of the effort to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the country. It comes with a myriad of national, local and personal economic hardships.
When the survival of an essential industry is threatened for extraordinary reasons, our government needs to consider if it should, and if so – how – to help that industry continue to weather the storm. It has happened in the past in the railway industry and, most recently, the banking industry. Arguments can be made for helping or not helping airlines, but the overriding concern should be what the consequence would be of not helping the airline industry? We may not all agree with the need, type or amount of help, but we must all consider what the world would be like if serious damage was done to the U.S. airlines’ ability to move people and goods around the country and the world efficiently.
We are all experiencing some hardship in these extraordinary times. Hopefully it will be short lived and of limited impact. This will pass and life can begin to return to whatever our new normal may be, and this will certainly include travel by air. Americans love to explore and wander the country and the world. Air travel may look different in the post COVID-19 world, but we will certainly count on it being available to us all.
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Contact: Dean Headley, co-author of the Airline Quality Rating from Wichita State University, 316-648-8570 or [email protected].