Lawmakers Seek Investigation Into Airlines’ Use of Pandemic Funds

Lawmakers Seek Investigation Into Airlines' Use of Pandemic Funds

Airlines received federal funds after the pandemic shutdown travel. (photo via iStock/Getty Images E+/Vertigo3d)

Two House Democrats are calling for an investigation into airlines’ use of federal pandemic funds meant for employee retention, asking if these funds were instead used for buyouts or early-retirement offers.

According to the Associated Press, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., chairman of a special panel on the government’s response to the pandemic, requested an investigation that would examine how the money was used by the airlines in light of a summer of cancelations, delayed flights and staffing shortages as travel bounced back.

“American taxpayers supported the airline industry during its darkest days at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, when nearly 75% of commercial flights were grounded. Americans deserve transparency into how airlines have used the federal funds they have received,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Richard Delmar, deputy inspector general of the Treasury Department, which handled taxpayer relief to businesses affected by the pandemic.

In April of 2020, U.S. air travel fell by approximately 95 percent of April 2019. This summer, it had nearly recovered to 2019 levels.

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