US President Donald Trump on Friday said that American airlines must be saved at all cost, as the administration gears up to take necessary steps to bail out the cash-strapped carriers hit by the coronavirus crisis. Trump's comments come a day after he said that airlines could receive details about the payroll grant approved the government by this weekend.
Airlines have been one of the hardest hit sectors with hundreds of flights getting cancelled every day as countries continue to impose travel restrictions and some even going for lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak. This has seen airlines bleeding with many even grounding their fleet completely.
Trump assures support
Retweeting an article by a Fox News Channel commentator on the airline bailout, Trump on Friday tweeted: "Not good ... but it is what it is. Have to save the airlines!" Trump had earlier said on Thursday that airlines would receive the details about the terms of the $32 billion payroll grant to bounce back from the losses suffered owing to the coronavirus outbreak as early as this weekend.
Reportedly, the government has already received around 275 applicants for grants, according to Reuters. Trump expects that the package is quite big to bail out the ailing airlines. "I think it's going to be a very acceptable package. It's a very big package," Trump had said on Thursday, adding that it will be "good for the airlines."
What does the package contain?
Under the $2.3 trillion CARES Act, passenger airlines are eligible to get cash grants of $25 billion for payroll. Cargo airlines are eligible for cash grant of $4 billion, while airport contractors like caterers and airplane cleaners can get up to $3 billion in cash grant.
Majority of the package is likely to be shared by the country's biggest airlines. Six of the biggest US airlines — American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways are reportedly expected to get 90% of the $32 billion package.
Airlines companies across the globe have been suffering owing to the coronavirus crisis. Earlier this week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that global airlines could lose up to 25 million jobs in the coming days as coronavirus outbreak has left the industry badly bruised.
Global airline travel declined 70% at the beginning of the second quarter, with hundreds of flights getting scrapped every day and customers cancelling bookings. The IATA also said that passenger revenues are projected to fall more than $250 billion if travel restrictions continue for three months because of the coronavirus outbreak and have appealed to governments to come forward amd bail out the ailing careers.