The Biden administration is making $482 million available to aviation industry manufacturers to help them avert job or pay cuts in the pandemic.

The Biden administration is making $482 million available to aviation industry manufacturers to help them avert job or pay cuts in the pandemic.

The taxpayer-funded relief will cover up to half of the payroll costs at 313 companies, according to the Transportation Department, which said Thursday will help save up to 22,500 jobs.

Air travel plummeted due to the spread of COVID-19. The delta variant has led to elevated cancellations and diminished travel in recent months. More than 100,000 aerospace jobs have been lost in an industry that had employed about 2.2 million people, according to the Transportation Department.

The largest recipient the fund funds announced Monday is Spirit Aerosystems, a Boeing supplier based in Kansas, which stands to get $75.5 million that the government says will help protect 3,214 jobs. Parker-Hannifin Corp. of Ohio, which makes hydraulic systems for planes, will get $39.7 million. The avionics unit of Japan’s Panasonic, based in California, will get $25.8 million, and several U.S. subsidiaries of France’s Safran S.A. will get a total of $24.8 million.

Money for the aerospace companies is coming from a $1.9 trillion package approved by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in March.

The relief is similar to a much larger aid program for U.S. airlines, which have received $54 billion in the past year and a half. The airlines also agreed not to furlough any workers, but they eliminated tens of thousands of jobs anyway by offering incentives for employees to quit or retire early.

Critics labeled the airline aid a bailout that amounted to several hundred thousand dollars for each job that was spared — 75,000 jobs, by some estimates. Defenders such as American Airlines CEO Doug Parker say that without the government’s help, airlines would have been forced to shut down when traffic fell to levels not seen since the 1950s.

The Federal Aviation Administration, part of the Transportation Department, recently awarded $100 million to aerospace companies including Boeing, General Electric’s aviation division and jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney to make planes less polluting and quieter.

Copyright
© 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

(CNN) — Fall is almost here, we’re approaching our seventh season of living with a pandemic, and yes, it still sucks.

Never mind, though, as CNN Travel is here as always to sharpen your pencils, straighten your rucksack and get you schooled in our weekly roundup of the latest developments in pandemic travel news.

1. France has banned unvaccinated American travelers

If American tourists want the chance to play beach volleyball in Saint-Malo, France, they'll need to have their jabs.

If American tourists want the chance to play beach volleyball in Saint-Malo, France, they’ll need to have their jabs.

Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP/Getty Images

However, the caution is reciprocated. France was added to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s highest-category risk list — “Level 4: Covid-19 very high” — back on August 9, meaning US citizens are already advised to avoid nonessential travel there.

2. And Spain has done the same

Tourists on Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in June 2021.

Tourists on Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in June 2021.

Jaime Reina/AFP/Getty Images

In a change from policy earlier this summer, Spain is allowing tourists from the United States only if they are fully vaccinated, the health ministry told CNN on Tuesday.

The new rule, which took effect this week, states that visitors from the United States on “nonessential travel,” such as tourism, must show “a vaccination certificate that the (Spanish) Ministry of Health recognizes as valid.”

Like France, Spain is on CDC’s highest-risk Level 4.

3. Cuba will start to reopen its borders in November

Cuba is changing faster than ever. See the vintage cars, the musicians and the stunning architecture as soon as you can.

Cuba’s state-run media has announced that the island will begin to reopen borders in November, despite a recent surge in Covid cases.

Cuba has been closed for much of the pandemic, which has hit the local tourism industry hard.

According to Cuba’s Ministry of Health, more than four million people on the island have been fully vaccinated with the island’s home-grown vaccines.

A statement from the Ministry of Tourism that was published on Monday in the Communist-party newspaper Granma said that Cuba will gradually reopen borders starting November 15 and will no longer require travelers to take a PCR test upon arrival.

4. Israel will reopen to small groups of tourists this month

Arrivals at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport in May 2021.

Arrivals at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport in May 2021.

Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

An Israeli pilot program to kick-start tourism will allow small foreign tour groups from selected countries, reports Reuters.

Fully vaccinated tour groups of between 5 and 30 people from countries on Israel’s green, yellow and orange lists will be allowed to enter the country, the tourism ministry said on September 5.

Individual tourists will still not be allowed to enter outside of a tour group, with exceptions being made for people visiting family members.

5. The Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc will reopen next month

Vietnam has taken a tough line with its Covid restrictions — this week a man was jailed for five years for spreading the virus — but there are still plans to revive its tourism industry.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Travel nurses have a unique perspective on the nursing profession, going from hospital to hospital to serve patients and enhance staffing for just months at a time.

We spoke to an Alabama travel nurse currently working in North Carolina.

Tyler Hughes has spent the past several years travel nursing and says it’s been a wonderful, but challenging experience.

The Dothan native says he loved his home hospital, but he set his sights abroad.

Hughes said, “Just traveling, the opportunities to learn more, broaden my scope of practice in nursing and the way I look at nursing I think has been the most rewarding thing.”

He’s been all over the country. “My first assignment was St. Louis, we’ve been there, New Mexico, California, Louisiana and now we’re here in North Carolina.”

Travel nurses often make double the salary of a stationary nurse.

“You can go out west, up north, to the east coast, and make a lot more outcome than you can in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi,” he said.

Travel nurses get additional perks beyond an often larger base salary, making their income sometimes double a staff nurse.

“A lot of the pay for staff and travel nurses is the same, but what helps the travel nurse and helps us is the tax free stipend for living, and food and things,” said Hughes.

He says the experience helping people is priceless, but Alabama will continue losing nurses if base salaries remain stagnant.

Travel nurses take contracts in 13-week increments.

Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 310,000, a pandemic low and a sign that the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the delta variant has yet to lead to widespread layoffs.

Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims dropped from a revised total of 345,000 the week before. The number of applications has fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January, reflecting the steady reopening of the economy after the pandemic recession.

But the spread of the delta variant this summer has put renewed pressure on the economy and the job market. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve reported that U.S. economic activity “downshifted” in July and August, in part because of a pullback in dining out, travel and tourism related to concerns about the delta variant.

And last week, the government reported that hiring slowed dramatically in August, with employers adding just 235,000 jobs after having added roughly a million in both June and July. Hiring plummeted in industries that require face-to-face contact with the public, notably restaurants, hotels and retail. Still, some jobs were added in other areas, and the unemployment rate actually dropped to 5.2% from 5.4%.

This week, more than 8 million people lost all their unemployment benefits with the expiration of two federal programs that covered gig workers and people who had been jobless for more than six months. Those emergency programs had been created in March 2020, when the pandemic first tore through the economy.

An additional 2 million people have lost a $300-a-week federal supplement to state unemployment benefits that expired this week. Some business owners had complained that the federal supplement made it harder to fill open jobs. Those pleas led governors in about 25 states to cancel the $300 payment early and to shut off the two emergency programs in most of those states as well. But academic research has found that so far, the early cut-offs in jobless benefits have led to only a small increase in hiring in those states.

Many economists express concern that the cut-off will lead to financial hardship because the resurgence of the pandemic will make it harder for some of the unemployed to find work. After previous recessions, emergency expansions of jobless aid ended at a time when far fewer people were still receiving benefits.

Still, the ongoing drop in applications for unemployment aid — six declines in the past seven weeks — makes clear that most companies are holding onto their workers despite the slowdown. That trend should help sustain the economic rebound through the current wave of infections.

The pace of hiring, though, has weakened — at least for now. Last week, the government reported that hiring slowed dramatically in August, with employers adding just 235,000 jobs after having added roughly a million in both June and July. Hiring plummeted in industries that require face-to-face contact with the public, notably restaurants, hotels and retail. Still, some jobs were added in other areas, and the unemployment rate actually dropped to 5.2% from 5.4%.

The steady fall in weekly applications for unemployment benefits coincides with a scaling-back of aid for jobless Americans. This week, more than 8 million people lost all their unemployment benefits with the expiration of two federal programs that covered gig workers and people who have been jobless for more than six months. Those emergency programs were created in March 2020, when the pandemic first tore through the economy.

That cutoff isn’t yet reflected in the weekly jobless claims report. The report’s data on the emergency programs is delayed by two weeks. As of Aug. 21, 8.8 million people were receiving benefits from these two programs.

An additional 2.6 million people were receiving regular state unemployment aid. These recipients have just lost a $300-a-week federal unemployment supplement, which also expired this week.

Some business owners had complained that the federal supplement made it harder to fill open jobs. Those pleas led governors in about 25 states to cancel the $300 payment early and to shut off the two emergency programs in most of those states as well. But academic research has found that so far, the early cut-offs in jobless benefits have led to only a small increase in hiring in those states.

Many economists express concern that the cut-off will lead to financial hardship because the resurgence of the pandemic will make it harder for some of the unemployed to find work. After previous recessions, emergency expansions of jobless aid ended at a time when far fewer people were still receiving benefits.

Earlier this summer, Las Vegas travel agent Frank Nardiello helped a group of 10 arrange a trip to Mexico.

Since there were no restrictions for U.S. citizens traveling to that country, two of the 10 figured it wouldn’t be an issue if they remained unvaccinated for the trip. That turned out to be a costly decision. Both unvaccinated travelers, Nardiello said, tested positive for COVID-19 while on their vacation.

One had to be put on a respirator, and both eventually had to be medically airlifted back to the U.S. at a cost of more than $27,000 each.

“It turned out to be a very expensive trip,” Nardiello said recently from his Paradise Travel office near Sun City Summerlin.

It was the type of complicated situation travelers can easily find themselves in these days, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt global travel.

Paradise Travel, which Nardiello runs with his wife, Ellen, has stayed afloat since the onset of the pandemic partly because of its loyal customer base. The Nardiellos have spent the past 28 years building that foundation. They’ve also had to change the way they do business in the era of COVID-19, a common tale within the travel advisor industry.

“We do a lot of research now,” Frank Nardiello said. “We move a lot of things around. People will do some research online about where they want to go but then call us to confirm information.”

On this day, the couple helped one set of customers plan a Mexican Riviera cruise over Thanksgiving and another with a planned trip to Hawaii, also over the holidays.

In a sense, the Nardiellos—and other Las Vegas Valley travel advisors—are also “travel counselors” now. They spend time going over all of the different travel requirements, restrictions and contingency plans. And any or all of those guidelines can change without much notice.

“We’ve been able to get by, and we’re certainly busy,” Nardiello said. “We’re putting in more time now, but we aren’t necessarily doing more business. When we call airlines, for instance, we could have a three- or four-hour wait on the phone. We’re at their mercy.”

At Paradise, a small office in a strip mall, plexiglass dividers now sit atop desks to separate customers from employees. Since the Nardiellos began working from the office again, walk-in business has not been permitted, only by appointment or over the phone.

Some boxes could be seen in the back of the office area. Those, he said, were filled with old brochures. The business, which has about half of its customer base in Southern Nevada, hasn’t received any new brochures since the start of the pandemic.

As the popularity of do-it-yourself online travel sites like Expedia and Priceline grew in popularity during the internet age, a popular belief was that many travel advisors would be forced out of business. Instead, business opportunities have broadened for many in the advisor field, Nardiello said.

“When the internet took over, it actually helped my business,” he said. “People still

A dozen years ago, when 125 students signed up for classes at Utah’s first public online school, DeLaina Tonks dreamed of the day when 10 times that number would enroll.

She just didn’t dream it would take an infectious plague to make it happen.

As disruptive as COVID-19 has been, some things have proven impervious to its chaos.

Mountain Heights Academy, for one.

Lockdown. Sheltering in place. Social distancing. Videoconferencing. They’d already been doing that for years.

* * *

As principal of Mountain Heights Academy since its inception in 2009 — it was first called Open High School until grades seven through nine were added in 2012 — Tonks has watched a slow and steady growth as students around the state have discovered, for various reasons, that virtual school is the best fit for them.

Some are athletes or actors or dancers who take their school-in-a-laptop along with them as they travel far and wide to pursue their dreams. Others require extra emotional or physical support or assistance. Still others are what Tonks refers to as “mainstream kids who do not want to deal with swirlies in the bathroom.”

“It’s not the right fit for everyone,” she says, “but it’s the best fit for

(CNN) — When Jordan Milano Hazrati was offered a job as a flight attendant with Virgin Atlantic, it was a dream come true.

“It was everything I’d ever wanted — I still can’t believe I did it,” she says. “I was sitting in the flight deck landing at Heathrow on my first flight, and I’ll never forget that view of the sunrise, and feeling so lucky I’d managed to do it. And the crew are the most amazing people — it really was the people who made the job.”

Hazrati, who’d previously been a flight attendant for Jet2 in her native Manchester, relocated to London’s Heathrow airport in February 2020 to take up her dream job.

But it wasn’t to be — eight months later, she became one of the many casualties of the crisis which has hit the aviation sector.

Many would have looked at an industry in crisis and walked away. But Hazrati has used the pandemic as a chance to make a play for the job she always really wanted, deep down: that of a pilot.

Runway to the skies

Jordan Milano Hazrati lost her job after eight months as a Virgin Atlantic flight attendant.

Jordan Milano Hazrati lost her job after eight months as a Virgin Atlantic flight attendant.

Courtesy Jordan Hazrati

Hazrati can’t remember a single moment when she decided she wanted to fly. In fact, she started her career doing something totally different — she was a dancer, performing in musicals.

“There was so many points that I thought. ‘Something’s not quite right,’ and I was always attracted to aviation,” she says. “But I never wanted to admit it, for fear of the cost.” Learning to fly is notoriously expensive — and a “big obstacle,” she says, for those not coming from a wealthy background.

In 2017, two things happened: a change in her personal life meant she had a chance to take a leap career-wise, and her parents bought her a flying lesson for her birthday — “they knew how much I loved planes,” she says.

And that was it. “As we went down the runway and then took off, I was addicted. Ten seconds is all it took — the instructor said I was going to manage takeoff, I was terrified rolling down the runway, but did it, got airborne — and got addicted.

“We were looking down at where I went to university, at the M6 motorway which I used to drive every day. I thought, this is the perspective I need for the rest of my life.

“When I came down, I said, ‘I’m going to do that.’ The big question, though, was how.”

She still couldn’t take the plunge, though. Learning to fly, she says, is a “lifelong commitment — it costs so much that you’ve always got to be sure that this is the right path.

“It probably wasn’t until I was pushed by the redundancy that I realized I was sure. It came to the point where I thought, not only do I want to do this, but this is the perfect

A report from a UW-Madison think tank shows employment in the state’s leisure and hospitality industry remains 18.7 percent lower than before the pandemic.

The annual State of Working Wisconsin report from COWS details the change in job numbers across various industries between February 2020 and June 2021. COWS stands for Center on Wisconsin Strategy.

Wisconsin’s economy overall has 114,000 fewer jobs than in February 2020, the report shows. The greatest job losses were seen in leisure and hospitality, which includes hotels, bars and restaurants. The industry had 49,600 fewer jobs in July than before the pandemic hit.

The report notes that this sector had lost more than half of its workforce by April 2020 at the height of the pandemic. While it has been recovering as these businesses reopened, the report points to “volatility in the sector” limiting that rebound.

“It’s adding jobs unevenly, but more-or-less on a pretty consistent upswing,” said Laura Dresser, associate director of COWS. “I think people can see this in their communities … Many restaurants are working shorter hours, or doing only takeout or outside seating, so that kind of restructured some of that work.”

Meanwhile, other sectors have lost very few jobs over the course of the pandemic. State employment in manufacturing, information, professional and business services, and trade, transportation and utilities all dropped by 1 percent or less between February 2020 and June of this year.

Some differences were seen between Wisconsin’s pandemic job losses and U.S. industry job losses on a percentage basis. While the country lost 6.1 percent of its information jobs, Wisconsin lost just 0.6 percent. In contrast, the state lost 3.1 percent of its financial activities jobs over the same period while U.S. employment in the sector dropped 0.8 percent.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in July, which is below the national rate of 5.4 percent but still 0.4 percent above the rate from February 2020.

The COWS report also highlights the decline in private and public sector union membership seen in Wisconsin.

The report shows that 8.8 percent of the state’s workforce were union members in 2020.
In line with the national trend, the percentage of Wisconsin workers in unions has declined steadily since the mid-1960s, though it remained above the national level before dropping below in 2014.

The report shows 22.1 percent of the state’s public sector workers and 6.5 percent of private sector employees were union members in 2020.

Report authors say the “deeper decline” in union membership in the state over the past decade was directly caused by two pieces of state policy: Act 10, which restructured public sector unionization in Wisconsin after passing in 2011; and “right-to-work” legislation enacted in 2015 that impacted private sector unions.

“It probably does not surprise that Act 10 had a real impact on public sector unions,” Dresser said. “It wasn’t instant, but it’s a pretty dramatic slide in public sector unionization rates that go from over 40 percent down to 20 percent across a five-year period.”

Ieshia West loved her job as a bartender.

A 20-year veteran of the restaurant industry who got her first job in a restaurant at age 16, West worked a flexible schedule that allowed her the time to get her college degree. A natural people person, she met some of her closest friends, including her wife, while tending bar at World of Beer in Fayetteville. 

She thrived on the energy and music of a full bar. The money was good. 

But she, like so many others in the hospitality industry, left their restaurant jobs near the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with no plan to return. Experts say people used the time away from work to pursue education or training at a rate not before seen in previous recessions. 

“People took the initiative to upscale themselves,” said Michael Walden, an economist and professor emeritus at North Carolina State University. 

Service industry amid pandemic:How 6 Fayetteville restaurants adapted, struggled and survived the pandemic

Ieshia West, of Fayetteville, left the restaurant industry in 2020 after nearly two decades.

West, 35, graduated from college not long before the pandemic started, but it wasn’t until the pandemic began that she decided to leave the hospitality industry and focus on her other career. 

She transferred from Maryland to Fayetteville around eight years ago to be closer to family. During her years at Olive Garden and World of Beer, she did a bit of everything, from waiting on tables and tending bar, to working in management and serving as a trainer, traveling around to new restaurants and helping them prepare for their grand openings. 

All the while, she attended college, graduating from Methodist University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She got a job as a social worker with Cumberland County Schools before she graduated, but kept her gig bartending at World of Beer on Friday nights and weekends. 

With a full-time job outside the restaurant, she didn’t depend on the bartending job for her livelihood anymore but loved the lifestyle it offered.

“I had the total package,” she said. 

Then COVID-19 hit. World of Beer, like so many other restaurants across the country, switched to carry-out only. West kept working, but without a bar full of customers, tips were low, a decrease further compounded by what limited work did remain being thinly spread out to more employees. 

She never had a problem following the mask mandate but had to deal with customers who didn’t follow the mask or social distancing rules. At one point she was required to wear latex gloves, which made gripping glass bottles tricky. A bell would ring every 30 minutes to remind employees to drop what they’re doing and wash their hands. 

“It was just a different energy,” she said. 

Everyone — customers and employees alike — was stressed out. She got razzled a few times but never had a customer lose their cool. Her decades in the restaurant industry and social work degree prepared her well. 

“We were working with less, but customers were expecting the same, if not more,” she