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Struggling U.S. airlines will be eligible to receive federal loans and, if they are willing to give an option for an ownership stake to the government, direct cash assistance as part of the coronavirus rescue deal struck by lawmakers and the White House, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The deal will provide $ 25 billion in conditional subsidies to passenger carriers and $ 3 billion to airline contractors providing ground staff such as caterers, while freight carriers would receive $ 4 billion in subsidies. The bailout also provides $ 25 billion in loans to airlines, said the people, who asked not to be identified while discussing the details before the bill’s text was released.
The airline bailout combines key elements of rival plans proposed last week by Senate Republicans and House Democrats. The GOP-backed plan released last week would have provided passenger airlines with $ 50 billion in loans but no subsidies, while the bill released by House Democrats would have provided the industry with tens of billions of dollars. grants.
The deal also includes $ 17 billion in loans to companies deemed essential to national security, which are aimed at helping Boeing Co. although the legislation does not mention the company by name, one of the people said.
Airlines for America, a lobby group for America’s largest carriers, said on March 21 that the industry would be forced to lay off workers unless lawmakers provide at least $ 29 billion in subsidies to support the wage bill. passengers and freight carriers.
Saleha Mohsin, Alan Levin, and Josh Wingrove contributed to this report.
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