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Hundreds of thousands will lose their jobs without additional emergency aid, says American Airlines CEO
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Hundreds of thousands will lose their jobs without additional emergency aid, says American Airlines CEO

Airline executives met White House officials on Thursday in a last-minute bid to avert tens of thousands of layoffs as depressed travel demand threatens to decimate the sector.

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"Hundreds of thousands of people will be out of work and service to small communities will be discontinued," if a new round of emergency airline funding is not approved, American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker said on NBC's "TODAY" show Friday morning.

Moreover, the critical national infrastructure that the airline industry provides, and that will be key to the nation's economic recovery could be severely impacted by the sweeping industry cuts, he said.

"We want to make sure that when the economy recovers we are here," Parker said.

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Parker's comments come after emergency talks at the White House on Thursday, when executives from the major U.S. airlines met with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in a last-minute plea for additional funding in order to avoid tens of thousands of layoffs across the entire airline sector.