Trump Says Bailout Proposal for Airlines May Come by Weekend

President Donald Trump said he may unveil a bailout proposal for the beleaguered U.S. airline industry by the weekend.

The president said Thursday at a White House briefing that he met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to work on details of the proposal.

Airlines have been frustrated by delays in U.S. aid after being virtually shutdown by the coronavirus. Some of those carriers are depending on federal funds to meet payroll obligations next week and face the prospect of furloughing workers.

Trump said he expected to offer “a very acceptable package” and may hold talks with the carriers.

Treasury officials informed at least some carriers Thursday that it won’t provide funds until negotiations over conditions for grants are complete, and there will be no advance payments, people familiar with the matter said. The agency thinks it should complete some applications by the end of next week, they said.

The delay builds on the frustration of airlines that initially expected to receive funds earlier this week but instead were asked by federal officials for additional, detailed financial and operational data. Furloughing workers would render them ineligible for grants.

The trade group representing large carriers, Airlines for America, said in a statement that the industry is projected to burn through $10 billion to $12 billion a month.

“We remain hopeful that Treasury will act expeditiously to release Direct Payroll Assistance funds – with as few restrictions as possible – to help U.S. airlines protect their 750,000 jobs, which is critically important amid our country’s record unemployment claims,” the group said.

— With assistance by Alan Levin, Saleha Mohsin, and Mary Schlangenstein

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