US airline bailout protects jobs better than NZ government does for Air NZ. Why?


US Airlines agreed to maintain payroll for employees through September 30, though some carriers like United and Delta have signaled that furloughs and layoffs will likely immediately proceed on October 1. The Treasury Department prohibited share buybacks and dividends for airlines receiving aid, but only for a year, until September 30, 2021. There are limits on executive compensation for two years but they’re pretty weak, based on lofty 2019 figures.

The bailout is a mixture of direct grants and discounted loans.

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, said in a statement to CNBC: “This is an unprecedented accomplishment — a truly workers-first stimulus that keeps people connected to their jobs and provides stability and hope to millions of aviation workers and sets a template we must now work to extend to every worker.”

When the NZ government did its deal with Air NZ they charged an extortionate 8% interest and seemed to place no requirements on the company to keep people working. How is this possible when the company is already 51% owned by the government?


  1. As a employee a for a major airline here in the U.S, straight away your headline is incorrect….this isn’t a “bailout” for airlines. Airlines are having to pay some of that money back and give up part of the airline to the government. It’s money as a promise to basically save jobs as many jobs as possible. Population here, 350+ million people. NZ population is 4+ million and the size of Colorado. There is no comparison as to why it’s so different here to the NZ government doing whatever they are doing with Air NZ.

    • @ Dave, Not sure NZ government has the foresight to negotiate to take a larger share of the airline they already own circa half of.

      I wonder if the other half of the shareholders in Air NZ ponied up a billion dollar loan like the NZ taxpayers did for nothing (yeah right) and now warning of higher taxes to all in NZ because of this type of thing … They didn’t secure all the jobs in Air NZ for the workers with the money, unlike other countries!

      Air lines will probably not recover for a decade, if at all under climate change, which was known about long before Covid. Does anyone really feel like a trip to Italy or the US or China or UK right now?

      Big business is very feeble under neoliberalism these days and seems to need bail outs every decade or so, Covid 2020, only 12 years since GFC, before that Sept 11, seven years before that…. seem to remember the airlines are the first to go down…..

      No wonder all the governments are so in debt now, they spend their taxes each decade bailing out banks and airlines and reducing corporate taxes and having tax havens and benefits for them, at the expense of their workers and middle classes which are in decline!

  2. Q US airline bailout protects jobs better than NZ government does for Air NZ. Why?

    A Because our successive government hates workers and now so deeply engrained into the NZ ‘business’ psyche to protect (mostly) offshore shareholders profits, that everything else related to business is not part of an executives mandate.

    In NZ, workers are considered a cost that should be replaced with cheaper ones at the first opportunity.

    Workers are expendable and you can just import in skills shortages from overseas cheaper.

    Local workers are so invisible, that they are not even considered in government thinking when the idea is to secure the shareholders profits first, migrant labour second. We have the dole in NZ, right! Aka privatise the profits, socialise the losses, is now NZ only government policy.

    The radical brainwashing of Rogernomics thinking, was made possible by our low population that when offshore media, government and officials all combine (while adding in circa 20% of NZ population of migrants in a decades, aka 1 million extra people from countries like China and India and the Phillipines not exactly known for a welfare state or high skill labour). Then make the newcomers vote in 1 year, become NZ citizens in as little as 11 days, access NZ health immediately, and be on welfare in 2 years to overload social services here, it is much easier to brain wash an entire country into a fake reality.

    Add in our governments bullying, who publicly call NZ nationals ‘lazy’ and ‘drugged out’ and most recently ‘racist’, it seems NZer’s themselves are increasingly considered a liability in government thinking.

    Therefore you only hear government worry about the ‘migrant workers’ exploitation not NZ worker exploitation or foreign students not domestic students. But even talk of migrant exploitation is surface only because at the end of the day the NZ government is signing off the visas and when migrants are caught exploiting others or doing social harm in NZ, they don’t get deported! You can get permanent residency from jail, aka Sroubek.

    Pike river, one of our biggest work disasters, where nobody is held to account. Pike River managed to kill 29 miners with no rescue ever attempted, just a nightly PR exercise of how dangerous it was to do a rescue and maybe tomorrow they might do something if overseas company X, Y etc manage to provide them with equipment. Even Russia and China manage to get their miners out when it is dangerous and presumably expect an escape route and equipment to help that on site ready to go.

    In NZ under the Pike river example, the workers have to walk out themselves to raise the alarm and there’s nothing in place to save anybody.

    In fact sounded like most of the Pike River executives didn’t really know much about mining and even less about safety. They were just placeholder overseers, to cut costs and extract profits from the mines as cheaply as possible in NZ.

    NZ is now a first world country, with third world safety standards for big business (the opposite true for small business of course)!

    Even our defence force/spy agencies charter has apparently has been changed to protect overseas business interests rather than domestic people here and national interests.

    When unions members are advocating nationalising Fletchers (why??? they are a dysfunctional shell of a company that can’t even build an affordable road or house anymore) and bringing more low paid workers (against the opposite mentality of unions all around the world), something has gone very wrong and all NZ thinking seems to end up with the same scenarios, don’t worry about NZ workers and nationals, help overseas shareholders profits first, workers from overseas are more deserving of help from unions, and don’t worry about redundancy pay or any compensation when increasingly workers and companies can be disappeared quicker than Don Brashs’ nuclear free NZ or a Covid whistleblower in China.

    Even British Airlines ensured jobs were saved and that the workers were paid 80% of their salaries, unlike Air NZ which sounds like the government package for workers is kinda missing in action. Never mind, business know best and the best use of no strings taxpayers money! Sarcasm.

    Air NZ CEO, is ex Walmart, with zero airline experience, (but that’s fine because it’s not about keeping the airline business afloat, it’s about making money any way you can for shareholders!).

    In NZ our government gave Air NZ money and loans up to nearly a billion, even though apparently Air NZ have 1.1 billion in cash reserves. Apparently zero government criteria about them laying off staff. Governments first thoughts are propping up the shareholders and the business brand itself, workers come and go, who cares, get some more workers from overseas when Covid is over!

    Welcome to NZ a former social democracy which is now an island full of neoliberals working out their next move to take over the entire country and our COL government is totally in awe of neoliberal advice – the origins of which are irrelevant to them, from multinational giants like Google to China Sycophants everywhere in NZ , big business and China, have NZ’s best interests at heart, don’t they?

  3. FFS, Aviation is an industry that had become a growing polluter of the environment, contributing in increasing amounts to climate change. And here we have Mr Treen wanting to save the airline jobs?

    It should be an industry that has to cut back, and stop polluting, we need to focus more on transport by ship, by using alternative energy, and make ourselves less dependent on tourism.

    COVID 19 has been a wake up call. Those working in the travel and airline industry, go and get a job doing something else thanks, stop dreaming of it all going back to the ‘old normal’.

  4. FFS, airlines and planes have increasingly contributed to CO2 and other emissions that contribute to climate change. They are an increasing problem, well, they were until COVID 19 came along.

    Instead of dreaming to return to the ‘old normal’, better wake up, and get yourselves a new job in some future industries, dear airline workers. What about getting work in alternative energy generation or organic farming and so forth?

    It seems absolutely stupid to save jobs that cannot be saved, and to pay people dreaming of a return to something that cannot return to the same as before.

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