Facing liquidation, Miami Air charter crews plead for federal assistance

DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - The coronavirus pandemic is causing turbulent times for a Miami-based charter airline company that could be grounded permanently if it’s denied federal assistance.

Flight attendants from Miami Air International held a demonstration outside U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart’s office in Doral, Tuesday.

“Save Miami Air! Save Miami Air!” they chanted.

Just last week, these flight attendants had careers that saw them taking care of presidents, soldiers and even rock stars at 30,000 feet in the air.

“The Treasury Department has not responded to our repeated requests for money. We’re running out of time,” said a flight attendant.

A spokesperson for the flight attendants’ union said that Diaz-Balart has been helpful in his efforts to bringing their plight to the attention of federal officials.

The demonstration is the employees’ last-ditch attempt to convince the U.S. Department of Treasury to give Miami Air International payroll assistance like it did for most other airlines through the CARES Act relief grants.

“We just want to survive,” said Miami Air pilot Anthony Klein.

Klein is one of the roughly 350 Miami Air employees who were notified last week that all employment at the company is ending.

“We see the world. There’s a lot of things I did at Miami Air that I wouldn’t have gotten to do anywhere else,” said Klein.

He said the job took him to China, had him flying sports teams, and introduced him to lifelong friends. Now he wants to know why the federal government is spending $25 billion bailing out other airlines but not his.

“We very much want these jobs saved,” said Tim Jewell, president of Airlines Professionals Association, which represents Miami Air pilots.

Jewell said that if the federal government doesn’t step in before the airline liquidates its assets, potentially later this week, 350 airline jobs will be gone for good.

“It is probably the worst time that they could be looking for work in the airline industry,” he said.

That’s why, protesters said, they have no choice but to beg the federal government to step in right now.

“Save us now! Save us now!” they chanted.

As of Tuesday evening, the Department of Treasury has not responded to 7News’ request for comment.

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