Airlines Aid Supported by White House, Spokesman Says

Industry executives meet with White House officials Thursday.
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President Donald Trump would back legislation to provide more financial aid to airlines struggling to get through the coronavirus pandemic, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said after meeting with industry executives Thursday.

Meadows said the industry needs $25 billion and that 30,000 to 50,000 jobs are at risk, Bloomberg reported. Airlines have warned they plan mass layoffs in October, after an existing federal prohibition expires.

American Airlines Group  (AAL) - Get Report, Delta Air Lines  (DAL) - Get Report and United Continental Holdings  (UAL) - Get Report were wavering at last check, while Southwest Airlines  (LUV) - Get Report was down 1.1%.

Airline travel has suffered during the outbreak as consumers have stopped or severely limited their travel plans.

"We airline CEOs are here on behalf of the people that work for us ... keeping our country moving when our country is largely paralyzed,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said after the meeting, according to CNBC. “Without action they’re going to be furloughed on Oct. 1 and it’s not fair.”

Airlines received $25 billion in federal aid in the March CARES Act that prohibits them from cutting jobs through Sept. 30. Airline CEOs and unions are seeking the additional $25 billion in aid to preserve jobs through March.

Delta Air Lines is raising $9 billion in what has been described as the largest debt deal ever in the aviation industry in an effort to survive the pandemic.

Five major airlines received must of the federal aid that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin approved in May. 

American Airlines is the largest recipient, getting $5.8 billion in payroll assistance. The money was a combination of grants and loans.

Airlines have so far left $29 billion in federal pandemic relief loans unclaimed as they wait to see whether consumer demand recovers as the economy reopens.

Most major carriers have signed “letters of intent” to take the funds, though several have said they do not need it after raising debt in private markets.