U.S. airlines reached an agreement in principle with the Treasury Department to access billions of dollars in aid as the government attempts to shore up one of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter.
The deal covers all the big carriers, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the accord hasn’t been officially announced. Final details are still being worked out with others, said another of the people. The money comes from $25 billion in payroll assistance allocated for passenger carriers in the $2.2 trillion stimulus package signed into law March 27.
The aid represents a temporary lifeline for airlines after the outbreak and government travel restrictions erased all but 5% of daily passenger demand in the U.S. Forced in some cases to pay more in refunds than they were taking in from new ticket sales and fees, carriers have cut capacity as much as 80% and parked thousands of planes in the industry’s worst-ever disruption.
Shares of American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Southwest Airlines all rose on the news in extended trading.
The Wall Street Journal reported the agreement earlier Tuesday.
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