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My Economy

Grounded by pandemic, this pilot hopes to fly again soon

Rose Conlon and Jonathan Frewin Dec 15, 2020
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Before the pandemic, Nick Gifford flew passengers around Europe as a commercial airline pilot. Courtesy Nick Gifford
My Economy

Grounded by pandemic, this pilot hopes to fly again soon

Rose Conlon and Jonathan Frewin Dec 15, 2020
Heard on:
Before the pandemic, Nick Gifford flew passengers around Europe as a commercial airline pilot. Courtesy Nick Gifford
HTML EMBED:
COPY

My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

The aviation industry has been hit especially hard by this recession. And even as air travel picks up a bit around the holidays, it’s still nowhere near what it was before the pandemic. In the U.S., 752,451 people went through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint Monday compared to 2,250,386 people on the same day last year.

Before the pandemic, Nick Gifford flew passengers around Europe as a commercial airline pilot. But as air travel dramatically slowed in the spring, Gifford, who was working as a contractor for a Belgian airline at the time, quickly lost his job.

Back home in Leeds, England, he circled through various jobs before landing at the National Health Service as a convalescent blood plasma collector. His new income is just a fraction of his old one.

During the pandemic, Gifford got a job as a convalescent blood plasma collector at the National Health Service.

“Financially it’s been a huge hit, probably an 80% pay cut from being an airline captain to the role I’m doing now,” Gifford said. “I can no longer afford the mortgage on the house; the house has been on the market for a few months now. No offers unfortunately so far, but perhaps in the new year.”

And while he finds his current work fulfilling, he’s looking forward to when air travel picks back up.

“I’m certainly more optimistic now looking into 2021 with the vaccines. I think there’s a good chance travel will start to recover and I can start flying again, hopefully.”

Let us know how your economy is doing using the form below, and your story may be featured on a future edition of “My Economy.”









COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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