APA Public Email Address
  817-302-2272

June 2020

Safely enabling a gradual return to pre-pandemic passenger travel while maintaining critical transportation infrastructure employment.

SEATS would build on the success of the CARES Act by addressing both health and economic concerns, with the government purchasing enough seats on each flight so that no passenger would have to sit next to a stranger. Passengers would be encouraged to fly more thanks to uniform social distancing, airlines would be encouraged to operate more flights, and the government would ensure preservation of critical transportation infrastructure and related jobs. The SEATS concept could be an effective strategy standing alone, and could also be integrated with any forthcoming infrastructure or additional stimulus bill similar to the CARES Act.

Key Points

  • The prices of empty seats would be based on 2019 industry average costs.
  • The number of empty seats bought by the government would fall as COVID-19 immunity rises.

As the United States cautiously begins to reopen, aviation will be essential to the success of these efforts. The return of air travel is a major catalyst for economic recovery, because travel stimulates ancillary spending well beyond the cost of an airline ticket.

Absent any additional government assistance, economic pressures might leave the airlines no choice but to curtail the return to service of additional aircraft or the reintroduction of suspended routes, with significant layoffs a likely consequence after the “no-layoffs” provision of the CARES Act terminates on Sept. 30, 2020.

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