Grounded by pandemic, this pilot hopes to fly again soon
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“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.
“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.”
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COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?
This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.
Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?
India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy continues reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
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