United States Edges Closer To Airline Bailout Deal

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The President of the United States, Donald Trump, said at a briefing on Thursday that he will present a new bailout package for the American airline industry by the weekend. The announcement couldn’t have come soon enough for US carriers, whose frustrations have been mounting as they initially expected to receive funds earlier this week. 

US carriers to receive payroll bailout
US President Trump announced Thursday that a bailout package would be unveiled over the weekend. Photo: Getty Images

Payroll grants in the nick of time

US President Donald Trump announced at a White House briefing on Thursday that he may be unveiling a bailout package for US commercial airlines over the weekend. According to Reuters, the administration is specifically preparing to give airlines details about the terms for a payroll grant of $32 billion as part of the package. 

Airlines have been anxious about the delays in aid from the US government. As reported by Bloomberg, the trade group Airlines for America said in a statement that the industry is projected to burn through $10 billion to $12 billion a month.

“We remain hopeful that Treasury will act expeditiously to release Direct Payroll Assistance funds – with as few restrictions as possible – to help U.S. airlines protect their 750,000 jobs, which is critically important amid our country’s record unemployment claims,” the group said.

United Airlines Aircraft at Newark Liberty International
      Some US carriers need aid to make payrolls next week. Photo: Getty Images

A “very acceptable” package

President Trump said that he had met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to work on details of the bailout package. The administration would probably be putting out a proposal with some of the “very powerful details” over the weekend. He also stated that it would be a “very acceptable” and “very big package.” 

Donald Trump has already stated that the airline industry is the number one priority for federal assistance. Re-tweeting a comment from a Fox News Channel commentator’s article on the airline bailout, the President said “Not good … but it is what it is. Have to save the airlines!”

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Southwest boeing 737 max grounded getty images
Some negotiations are set to be done by next week. Photo: Getty Images

Frustrated airlines

Carriers have been increasingly frustrated as they initially expected to receive funds earlier this week, but instead, they were asked by federal officials for additional and detailed financial and operational data. Some airlines are depending on federal grants to meet payrolls already next week. If they furlough staff, that would make them ineligible to receive state grants. 

Treasury officials have informed at least some airlines that it won’t provide any funds until negotiations over the terms for the grants are complete and that there will be no advance payments. Furthermore, it expects to complete only some of these negotiations by the end of next week.

US airlines had already been set to receive nearly $60 billion in financial assistance as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Not all governments have heeded the pleas from their carriers at this time of unprecedented crisis.

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What is your government doing, or not, to assist the national airlines? Let us know in the comments. 

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