(AP)— The pilots’ union at American Airlines is proposing that the government help airlines by buying enough seats so that passengers never have to sit next to a stranger.

The Allied Pilots Association said today that would make people feel comfortable about flying during the pandemic, lead airlines to add flights and help avoid “significant” layoffs when the US$25 (1h 41m) (1h 41m) billion in federal payroll aid to airlines runs out in October.

The proposal isn’t cheap. The union estimates it would cost up to US$1 (0h 4m) (0h 4m).9 billion a month if airlines operate at 40 percent of their 2019 capacity and up to US$3 (0h 12m) (0h 12m).8 billion a month if they run at 80 percent.

Meanwhile, airport ground-services firm Swissport says it may have to cut half its British staff because of the collapse in airline travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company, which operates baggage handling and check-in services at UK airports including Heathrow and Gatwick, said today that 4,556 jobs may be cut as it faces a loss of 50 percent of its revenue this year.


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