Congress is considering another $25 billion bailout for airlines under the Democrats' latest COVID relief bill, but even some industry insiders say enough is enough.
The biggest chunk is $14 billion to avoid furloughs and layoffs. But aviation expert Jay Ratliff argues demand is down 75 percent from a year ago, and airlines refuse to adjust.
“If you have an airport that's not making money, you no longer service that small airport,” he says. “If you're running five flights a day to a certain city and you only need four, you trim it back. It's a constant fluid adjustment as any other business does.”
And he points out the airlines really don't need the cash.
“Going into January, the big four airlines of Delta, American, Southwest and United collectively had about $32 billion in cash. So they're sitting on that,” says Ratliff.
Ratliff says President Donald Trump had the right idea of how to deal with the airlines, but Democrats and media scorched him over it.
“President Trump made a great suggestion in the early parts of the first bailout,” he says. “What we should do is give them additional money and buy future airline tickets at a 50 percent discount. That way the government is getting something when employees travel and we're not just giving money away.”
“He was laughed at as so many of his ideas were. But it made perfect business sense.”