When Congress passed a $50 billion aid package for airlines last week, the legislation suggested that carriers would be required to maintain a minimum level of service as a condition of receiving that aid.
On Tuesday, the Department of Transportation announced more details about exactly what would be expected of airlines.
The guidelines fall under three broad categories:
Practically speaking, here’s what that could look like:
These guidelines are open for public comment through April 2, and have not yet been finalized. Once enacted, the rules will apply to any airline that seeks aid under the CARES Act, for either loans or grants.
In the weeds
The rule will consider regional service to fulfill the obligation of the marketing carrier. So, American Eagle flights will count toward American Airlines’ minimum service requirements, However, if SkyWest, for example, operates any non-cobranded flights, it will be responsible for maintaining its own minimum service on those routes if it accepts government aid.
Airlines will also be allowed to request exemptions from these guidelines if they determine that some cities do not warrant the minimum required service given current demand.
Charter and air taxi operators are exempted from these guidelines. All-cargo carriers are technically covered by the legislation, but the DOT has opted not to enforce minimum-service guidelines on cargo operations, citing a recent increase in demand for cargo capacity.
Once finalized, the guidelines will remain in place through Sept. 30.
Featured photo by Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images.
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