Tuesday on Fox News Channel’s Your World, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated that, despite receiving billions to keep people employed, airlines pushed “a lot of their pilots and experienced crews into early retirement,” leaving “these airlines unprepared to service those routes and now that’s coming back to bite the entire system.”
The diversity hire Buttigieg added, “Look, tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer support went to these airlines for the purpose of keeping people in their jobs. And part of the idea was, if we keep people employed, that means that we’ll have that airline sector up and running for when the demand comes back. Now, the demand has come back faster than most people thought possible, part of a general return of demand and spending in our economy that happened much more quickly than expected. Of course, that’s a good thing. But the airlines have to be prepared to service the tickets that they sell.”
He added, “Here’s where the money went: It went to keep people on the job and prevent people from being laid off and furloughed… While they complied with the bill in that technical sense, you still saw the airlines guide a lot of their pilots and experienced crews into early retirement. And so, that didn’t violate the terms of all this taxpayer money that came to them. It said you can’t fire people, early retirement’s a little different. But what these buyouts and retirements did was they left these airlines unprepared to service those routes and now that’s coming back to bite the entire system.”
Asked if airlines “wasted that money,” Buttigieg responded, “Look, when that money went out, when the Rescue Plan passed, one of the first things I heard was that flight attendants and other airline workers were told that they could tear up their furlough notices. I don’t think that was a waste of money. I think that was a very good thing. Many of these airlines, if not all of them, might have completely collapsed and gone out of business… So, look, I don’t think it was a mistake to keep the U.S. aviation sector in business. I do think the airlines that accepted all of this funding need to be able to service the routes that they’re selling tickets for.”
The former mayor of South Bend, like the rest of the Biden administration, is in over his head. Buttigieg can blather all he wants about how great the economy is under Democrat direction, but in fact the administration’s mix of incompetence and willful destruction of the economy is steering the country into a ditch.