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House Republicans say they are exploring a range of proposals – from loans to airport clean-up grants – to help the aviation industry fall under the weight of the coronavirus outbreak.
GOP leaders from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee consider a federal loan program to help airlines buy jet fuel, discuss unspecified “tax break” for the industry, according to a summary sent by e-mail of the proposals under discussion.
The proposals are still being finalized and it is not yet clear whether they will be tied to a stand-alone law or another bill, according to the summary.
Democrats on the committee, who control the majority in the House, have not said what measures they are considering. White House officials are discussing whether airlines retain certain taxes and fees they perceive as a temporary means of helping their bottom lines, Bloomberg News reported on March 13.
As part of the GOP proposals under discussion, an existing stream of grants, the Airport Improvement Program, could be used to funnel money to airports across the country for operational costs, including construction works. sanitation and cleaning. Under the AIP, the Federal Aviation Administration granted airports $ 3.2 billion in 2019 for the complete request for approval, according to the agency.
The coronavirus outbreak has dramatically reduced travel, causing widespread financial hardship at airlines and airports. The rush to return to the United States last weekend after a partial European travel ban has caused some airports to become overwhelmed as passengers face additional screening.