Correct. Payroll support is an alternative to unemployment insurance. Without PSP, there would be thousands of airline employees out of work.
It's a far more expensive alterative to unemployment insurance. Even with the additional monies and time, unemployment payments are completely dwarfed by the paychecks and benefits most airline employees get. Not to mention that American taxpayers are paying for these handouts, whereas businesses pay unemployment insurance premiums that would cover a large portion of what's been handed out...
Are you saying the airlines have not been paying unemployment insurance?
Most other industries have been able to adapt. Restaurants shifted to to-go and delivery. Retailers switched to curbside pickup. Not saying it was easy on them, but they had alternatives. There is very little alternative for the airlines when the government shuts down basically all avenues for revenue, globally. It’s hardly a fair comparison, as aviation is one of the most highly regulated environments to operate a business in. The airlines literally had no choice in the matter. When the global demand environment is artificially shut off due to government intervention, it is only fair for that government to assist if possible. Many businesses were able to adapt, and the airlines did the best they could by shifting into the freight business with their passenger fleet. But there is only so much freight. The airlines are not built to switch to a FedEx model overnight, or even over months.
Call it a handout. Call it a bailout. But letting entire industries collapse is not good for anybody. Other industries also received grants and loans, as well as mass assistance from their local communities in the form of tax forgiveness, relaxed rent, local grants, etc.
Not one US airline would have survived this without government intervention. Southwest might have been able to just because they had more cash on hand, but they were sweating bullets too.
For an aviation website, the membership really seems to fantasize the idea of entire airlines going bankrupt and their fleets of hundreds of airplanes getting sent to a desert while their 100k employees each line up for food at the local homeless shelter. I am thankful the government stepped in. That’s why we pay taxes.