Miami Air International Workers Fight to Save Local Airline From Bankruptcy

South Florida airline left out of federal coronavirus aid fighting for survival

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Miami Air International employees protested Tuesday asking to keep their jobs after the local airline stopped operating and planned to file for bankruptcy this week.

Pilots, flight attendants and other workers could lose their jobs, after the South Florida airline didn't receive any money from the federal government amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“This is a very last ditch effort. It is the only effort that we have," flight attendant Bertila Pozo said at Tuesday's protest. "We're just trying to help save our airline."

People have been barely using the airline because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and on Tuesday it plans to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy after being left out of the Cares Act, which sent billions of dollars to mainline and regional airlines.

Union officials said the airline asked for $10 million back on April 3 and hasn't heard anything from the U.S. Treasury Department.

"If the federal government, state and local governments have been able to respond to the needs of the larger airlines, the legacy carriers, they should be able to respond to our needs just as quickly. We are no less deserving," pilot Javier Rodriguez said.

The crewmembers protested in front of the office of Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who they said has been supportive.

But so far, the support hasn't gone far enough for the 350 employees who could be out of a job this week.

"That’s 350 families that if we can keep our jobs we can keep on helping our fellow neighbors here in the area, by going out to eat and just spending ourselves as well," Rodriguez said.

The protesters believe there's still time for the Treasury Department to help.

“We need to keep our jobs too. We are an airline like anybody else, albeit small," Rodriguez said.

NBC 6 reached out to the Treasury Department for comment but hasn't heard back.

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