Four US cargo carriers have been asked to hand back or demonstrate that they needed more than $630m in Covid-19 support funding as part of the Payroll Support Program (PSP).
James Clyburn, chairman of the select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis, sent letters to Atlas Air, Kalitta Air, Western Global Airlines and Amerijet International.
The chairman wrote that each of these companies “appears to have had financial success during the crisis” and added: “If your company did not need PSP funds to keep workers on the payroll, failing to return the funds to the Treasury would be inconsistent with Congress’s clear intent.”
Congress created the PSP to “preserve aviation jobs and compensate air carrier industry workers”.
Congress required that PSP funds “shall exclusively be used for the continuation of payment of employee wages, salaries and benefits”, and in exchange required recipients to “refrain from conducting involuntary furloughs or reducing pay rates and benefits until September 30, 2020.”
The select subcommittee said that Atlas Air received more than $406m while its second quarter earnings in 2020 increased approximately 300% over the second quarter of 2019.
The company has also seen its stock value increase by more than 45% since the start of the year.
“It is troubling that Atlas Air is set to receive over $406m in tax payer funds — more than any other cargo carrier — to pay the wages and benefits of its workers while simultaneously reporting record earnings,” Clyburn said in his letter to Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings chief