Flight cancellations, layoffs at PHL, and airlines expect worse

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Airlines are seeing a lot of cancellations during the coronavirus restrictions. And now, there's a report that a halt on all commercial air travel might be coming.

Because passenger traffic is down at Philadelphia International Airport, the Transportation Security Administration has closed two checkpoints at Philadelphia: one at Terminal A West and another at Terminal C.

"Last week, we're aware that about 600 folks lost their jobs, and those were people who work as wheelchair attendants, baggage handlers and cabin cleaners," Brown said. "And our hearts really go out to them. We are all really feeling the strain of the COVID-19 crisis."

Brown says nearly 900 workers who are actually employed by the City of Philadelphia at the airport are still on the job.

She says the airline industry itself expects the situation to get worse.

"Passenger traffic at U.S. commercial airports is expected to fall by about 73% between March and June coming up. So, we do believe this will cause a chain reaction on this highly interdependent airport system," she said.

The airlines and the White House are in discussion about a possible shutdown of all commercial passenger flights across the United States because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Wall Street Journal quotes sources on both sides as saying no final decisions have been made. Meanwhile, the airlines and airports are looking for federal aid in that bailout plan being negotiated in the Senate.

Brown says the airlines and airports are hoping to get some federal relief as part of the package being negotiated in the Senate.