U.S. Aid to Airlines Delayed Amid Requests for More Financial Data

The U.S. bailout aid to the airlines is being delayed amid requests for more financial data. The carriers are losing tens of millions of dollars a day in revenue because the coronavirus pandemic stopped travel.
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Shares of major airlines have soared this week amid indications of progress in the coronavirus fight and optimism that the government’s $29 billion bailout will rescue the carriers.

But now concern that the assistance won’t come quickly is rising. 

The problem with the government rescue is that the airlines have to go through a laborious process, with requirements that they provide more detailed financial information than they have so far, knowledgeable sources told Bloomberg.

Major airlines are losing tens of millions of dollars a day in revenue, as the coronavirus pandemic has kept would-be travelers at home, and some airline staffers who are working have caught the virus.

That could stanch the airline-stocks rally, which has pushed the US Global Jets ETF  (JETS) - Get Report up 16% this week. 

The fund holds Delta Airlines  (DAL) - Get Report, United Airlines  (UAL) - Get Report, American Airlines  (AAL) - Get Report, Southwest Airlines  (LUV) - Get Report and JetBlue Airways  (JBLU) - Get Report along with others.

The airlines that filed for assistance April 3, just a few days after the $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package was passed by the government, expected the cash to begin flowing several days ago, the Bloomberg sources said.

That money is targeted to pay airline employees. But the Treasury Department has asked for more information that seems to be more relevant to a separate loan process rather than the cash grants, the sources said.

For now the concern hasn't reached the stocks and the Global Jets ETF, which at last check traded at $15, up 5.2%. Among the individual carriers:

Delta shares were up 4.9% at $24.36;

United shares added 6.9% to $29.41;

American Air was at $11.90, up 5%;

Southwest climbed 3.6% to $35.55, and,

JetBlue tacked on 3.3% to $9.33.