Talks are underway with U.S. airlines, promised a $50-billion chunk of the federal stimulus package, on how to deliver aid to them as they endure a dearth of passengers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump said on Thursday.
Trump led his daily White House briefing by saying that negotiations will be going on this weekend to decide how funds would be delivered to beleaguered airlines. He said the carriers would be consulted as part of the process.
“It is moving along quickly. The airline business has been hit very hard, as everyone knows.” Trump said. “We will be in position to do a lot to help them.”
Trump didn’t go into details, pledging only that “it is going to be a very acceptable package. Good for the country. Good for airlines. Good for a lot of people.
Airlines were among the top recipients of federal aid in the $2-trillion stimulus package that Trump signed last month.
Half of the $50 billion earmarked for airlines is intended as direct, immediate aid to them, with much of it required to be used to pay employees, many of whom have been furloughed due to the drop in passenger traffic.
Airlines have been asking for the amount they say they need out of the package. American Airlines, for instance, said it is eligible to receive $12 billion.
“Essentially, the U.S. government is providing funds to motivate airlines to continue air service and not involuntarily furlough any team members,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told employees in a video. “There are no similar provisions in the bill for other large industries.”
While the major airline trade association, Airlines for America, has lauded the aid along with carriers like Southwest and Delta, some smaller and ultra-low fare airlines take issue with details in the stimulus. In particular, they said in filings that requiring carriers to maintain minimal levels of service when there are few passengers works against how they see the intent of the package: to help them stay afloat financially until passengers return to the skies.
Culled from Usatoday.com