Five More Airlines Reach Deals for COVID-19 Relief Loans

A second group of airlines has agreed to the terms of billions in federal loans aimed to keep the industry afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Treasury Department confirmed on Tuesday.

Alaska Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, United and Southwest have each signed letters of intent on terms of the loans that will be made available under the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed back in March, which includes $50 billion for U.S. passenger airlines—$25 billion in payroll grants to avoid job cuts through September 30 and another $25 billion in loans.

The news comes just days after American, Frontier, Hawaiian, SkyWest and Spirit finalized deals with the U.S. government.

“The major U.S. airlines play a vital role in our economy and are critical to domestic and international travel and commerce,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “These airlines are among the companies most heavily affected by the disruptions to social and economic activity caused by the pandemic. Treasury’s authority under the CARES Act to provide up to $25 billion in liquidity to passenger air carriers and related businesses will help preserve America’s aviation industry while also protecting taxpayers. We look forward to working with the airlines to finalize agreements and provide the airlines the ability to access these loans if they so choose.”

The Treasury Department did not reveal the terms or amounts of the loans but Delta and United have previously said they’re each eligible to borrow approximately $4.5 billion. The agreements currently in place do not require airlines to take the loans.

Air travel demand is on the rise compared to this past spring and airlines are building up their schedules for the months ahead but passenger numbers still remain dramatically lower than the same period last year.

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