U.S. airlines are seeking government relief from the coronavirus pandemic of more than $50 billion, including direct payments and loan guarantees, an industry group said Monday.
Airlines for America (A4A) recommended the passenger carriers receive $25 billion immediately in cash grants to compensate for lost business and $25 billion later in low-cost or zero-interest loans.
“This is a today problem, not a tomorrow problem. It requires urgent action,” A4A President and CEO Nicholas Calio said in a press release.
It would be the industry’s first broad bailout since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Airlines for America represents carriers including Delta, United, American and Southwest. The administration has ordered a halt to most flights from Europe as the pandemic worsens there.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the administration is talking to the airlines “about their balance sheets and cash flow.”
“We don’t see the airlines failing, but if they get into a cash crunch we’re going to try to help them,” Mr. Kudlow told reporters. He did not call any action a “bailout,” saying it was more of a short-term liquidity issue.
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