American Airlines passenger planes crowd a runway where they are parked due to flight reductions to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S. March 23, 2020.
Nick Oxford | REUTERS
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he hopes to begin offering “preliminary information” to airlines about their applications for government assistance starting Friday.
Major airlines last Friday, including Delta, JetBlue, American, United and Spirit, said they had applied for federal aid aimed at covering payroll, as instructed by the administration.
“We hope to get to a lot of the airlines starting tomorrow and over the weekend with preliminary information,” Mnuchin said.
“It is our objective, to make sure that I’ve said this is not a bailout, but airlines have the liquidity to keep their workers in place. So that’s the next big thing we’ll be rolling out,” Mnuchin said.
Friday’s applications included airlines’ proposals for the amount and structure of the requested relief. The Treasury has said it has the power to demand equity along with any grants. Lawmakers, unions and others have warned against treasury making any equity demand that airlines deem unsustainable.
The negotiations, though, are being done under a tight timeline as airlines hemorrhage cash. Already, the government has missed the Monday deadline set by the $2 trillion relief package to send out initial payments to airlines and carriers.
On Sunday, leading democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Lader Chuck Schumer wrote Mnuchin to urge him to eschew any demands that may delay coming to a deal, putting jobs at risk.
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